This…and many other verses in the Bible…assure us that everything we suffer this side of heaven will be totally, TOTALLY out-glowed by the glory that will be revealed to us. In fact, Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that our afflictions are actually "preparing us for" or "attaining for us" the "eternal weight of glory," depending on the Bible translation you choose.
I don't understand or especially welcome this training and prep time, the buckets of suffering some of us endure over a lifetime, but the testimony of the saints (big and little "s") is that it's absolutely part of God's process for His chosen ones.
Can I allow God's word to help me reframe or even embrace affliction? It's so counter-intuitive and yet, again, the biographies of God's faithful affirms what God's word tells us over and over, just as Christ's life bears witness to suffering as the path to glory.
As I've mentioned, I've had the privilege of writing several near death accounts and I've been struck by the fact that the experiences that are most vivid, most dazzling, most intimate are those of people who had a conspicuous amount of challenges here on earth.
I don't have enough data to make any scientific pronouncements, but do I need data? Do you? If these witnesses testify to the truth of God's word, why question it? It's GOOD NEWS!
The Bible tells us there's a relationship between what and how we endure here and our rewards in heaven. I tend to think, as the Bible also says, that heat and pressure can refine us so we're better equipped for our heavenly life in God's unparalleled presence. James says this:
"Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]." James 1:2-8 (AMP)
PRAYER: Lord, give me grace to help me not only endure but to embrace your purposes in suffering, that I may be fit for the "weight of eternal glory." Help me help others do the same. Thank You. I love You!