God’s wisdom in Suffering:
God uses suffering to realign our perspective.
Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory
It is easy to lose perspective in life. In the fast-paced life, we live it is easy to get caught up in the drive to success, economic prosperity and allure of materialism. In an age where success is measured by our position and social status, we can become so focused on accomplishments that we lose sight of the things that are truly important. Relationships become secondary to our goals and plans. We substitute genuine and meaningful relationships with superficial and meaningless posts on Facebook and other forms of social media. We carry around our cell phones so that we won’t miss a call, but never really connect with people in significant face to face interaction. We fill our days with activities, while neglecting our relationships with people and our relationship with God. We are too busy to go to church, but not to go to a sporting event, a concert, or to watch the latest movie. We fear the tediousness of boredom more than the tyranny of the busy.
Paul understood suffering and trials. His litany of troubles he faced (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-29) would cause even the most courageous to be overwhelmed. He compares himself to clay pot that is easily broken with the slightest pressure. But instead of becoming discouraged and angry at these circumstances and even at God, it served to be a continual reminder to him what is truly important. When Paul compared his troubles with the impact that it was having upon the lives of others, it caused him to rejoice. Every day he saw himself be constantly delivered over to death, but this only served to clarify his perspective, that life is not measured by what we achieve in the present, but what we achieve for eternity. The suffering and trials of this life are temporary, but the transformation of people into followers of Christ brings eternal rewards.
When we are going through times of difficulty it is often God’s tool to realign our perspective, to get us to focus on the things that are really important rather than the things that we think are important. What is really important is not the impressiveness of our portfolio, the status of our bank account, or the success of our ventures. What is really important is our relationship with God, our connections with people, and the time we spend interacting with our family. Trials and adversity are the tools that God uses to strip away the insignificant in our life to help us see clearly what is truly meaningful. It is not what we accomplish in the present, but what we accomplish for eternal that matters. Wealth, success, recognition and status are all temporary. What is eternal is pursuit of the knowledge of Christ, our testimony we share with others, and the service we give to Christ in building his church. During this time when life has been slowed down, take some time to reevaluate your priorities. The greatest tragedy is not the loss of income or the loss of the things we enjoy, the greatest tragedy is when we fail to learn from the circumstances that God is using to realign our priorities. Ask yourself the following questions: What is really important in my life? Does my use of time, energies and resources reflect those priorities? What are changes that I need to make in my life to become more focused upon Christ and his ministry?