Disappointments are inevitable – discouragement is a choice ∙
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! – 2 Corinthians 4:17
18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
20 But with eager hope
21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.
23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
24 We were given this hope when we were saved.
Disappointments are inevitable, and how we cope with them is frequently a defining moment in our lives. How we respond to disappointment is often influenced by our upbringing; some people seek to avoid disappointment by underachieving (setting their expectations permanently low) while others seek to avoid it by overachieving (setting their expectations unattainably high).
Regardless of which way we lean, we can learn to respond healthily to disappointment by adopting a coping style that seeks to understand what happened, checks whether our expectations were reasonable, reevaluates our perceptions and behaviors, and seeks positive solutions instead of dwelling on the past. Introspection can be helpful, but rumination is often not. Although disappointment is inevitable, being discouraged is always a choice. (Harvard Business Review)
How we go through life and respond to difficulties flows from our perspective.
The apostle Paul had a great attitude because he had a great perspective. He was not focused on the here and now. He was focused on the future glory that is the inheritance of every child of the King. In comparison to the glory that is coming and will last forever, anything that happens during our short period on earth is but a mere trifle of no lasting importance.
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an eternal glory far beyond all comparison that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
What is the glory of which Paul speaks? Glory is Pauline shorthand for all the blessings of our future inheritance in the age to come. In this sense, it is analogous to the Hope of our calling, our incredible, fantastic future with The Father.
Colossians 1:5 Your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven.
1 Peter 1:4 we have a priceless inheritance – an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
Of course, when we are in the midst of our difficulties, it is hard to believe that anything good could possibly come out of them. But what we experience is almost nothing compared to what occurred in Paul’s life. He learned to handle it, adapt, and overcome. Paul is attempting to help us and show us how to cope. He had learned that when in the middle of struggles, he could maintain a laser focus on the contrast between his present experiences and his certain future hope.
The differences were striking. He learned and practiced a perspective that got him through. On the one hand, his present difficulties were grievous, but on the other hand, his rewards were pure glory. Thus, relatively speaking his difficulties were light while the rewards were heavy. His difficulties were short, momentary, while his rewards were eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17 could be translated:
“For our temporary lightness of affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory that is out of all proportion [to the affliction] (Kruse).
“For this momentary and light affliction of ours is producing for us to an utterly incomparable degree an eternal load of glory” (Harris).
REFLECT & PRAY
Our troubles are slight and short-lived (REB). The troubles we experience are small and they do not last long (USB).
Father let Your perspective become my perspective. Teach me to see things as You see them and respond appropriately.
But there is more. While children of the King are undergoing difficulties on earth, they are being prepared for glory. An inner transformation has begun.
Exodus 33:18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
The Hebrew word translated glory is kabod. It is commonly used of the Father’s glorious presence. Kabod connotes something heavy, weighty, valuable, worthy, overwhelming, consequential, meaningful, momentous, portentous, significant, substantial. It is hard for us to wrap our arms around this intriguing idea. The Father’s glory is heavy! We might say today “supersized,” awesome, humongous, massive. Thus the presence of the Father is awesome and glorious.
Each child of the King is destined to be in His presence forever, that is our future hope of glory, our glory to come.
Paul’s choice of words the weight of glory was most probably influenced by the fact that in Hebrew, both weight and glory come from the same verbal stem KBD. Present suffering can be intense, brutal, and abusive, and in and of itself, it is not inconsequential. But in comparison to the coming future weight of glory, it seems slight, even insignificant in the eternal scheme of things.
It is not so much that we are compensated for our present-day suffering by future glory. Such an understanding and explanation are far too shallow. Rather, our future glory is the byproduct and outcome of our present difficulties. The more we grow and develop a right understanding and perspective, the more we can appropriately handle adversity. As a result, the greater the glory will be. The divine formula is straightforward and logical. As we respond more appropriately to difficulties on earth, we are inwardly transformed, and our future glory increases.
We cannot begin to comprehend what the Father has in store for us. Pause for a moment and visualize what it will be like to arrive and be welcomed into our eternal home. The Father is standing, waiting for you. As you approach, He hands you a present. You unwrap it. You marvel at it. You ask, “Is this really mine?” He answers yes dear child. You ask, “do I get to keep it forever?” He answers “yes.” You ask, “what is it for?” He responds, “remember when you suffered so terribly? It is for that!” He continues, “and this large stack of specially wrapped gifts are for you also.” He smiles and says, “savor and enjoy sweet child of Mine, delight in your promised glory!”
Few and far between are children of the King, who through their lifetimes have learned the art and science of reacting properly to adversity. When you find one, they have a gentle and quiet spirit and a confident outlook. As they have aged, these children of the King have developed a way of reacting to adversity that produces abundant glory in their lives on earth today. Any child of the King can do it. The opportunity is there and the power to choose is ours. Remember, disappointment is a choice.
© Dr. H 2022