Light afflictions are but nothing in the grand comparison of the “exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17) which we will see when we are in God’s presence. All earthly pain will cease, all joy will be eternal, all knowledge and peace will be perfected. Life in the heavenly places is a reality, but so are trials on earth. But who allows these “fiery trials” to occur? Our LORD. The same Almighty God who perfects, establishes and strengthens us (1 Peter 5:10) for His eternal glory is the one who places us under great trials to test our faith (James 1). If this is the Truth of the word then why do so many Christians crumble to trials? Why does the very thought of hardship surpress them into intimidation and fear? We are afraid to act because we are in fear of what will happen to us. We are afraid of pain (to a degree). We are terrified of change (when conditions seem fine). We naturally seek comfort, but God seeks our perfection, instead. There is no comfort in perfection (Matthew 8:20).
What comfort is there truly to seek in a perishing world? There is no tangible entity in this life worthy or strong enough to give us the comfort our hearts truly seek. Everything is fleeting; everyone is self-seeking. God placed this desire of comfort in our hearts for the purpose to freely give comfort away to those who need comforted (2 Corinthians 3, 4). To be filled by such comfort we must seek and worship God alone; to know that He is our only source of true comfort. But why do we really seek comfort? We seek it to escape the hardships of life. We can easily pervert the beauty of God’s comfort by focusing it inwardly and thinking only of ourselves in the matter, turning a holy comfort into a worldly one. However, to cover the hardships of this world with a worldly comfort is like coating an open wound with antiseptic, expecting it to close and heal the lesion.There is nothing worldly, even comfort, that can take away our hardships. But thanks be to God for the life to come, for an “exceeding and eternal weight of glory” awaits. It will overshadow all trials. It will crush all barriers. It will shine eternally brighter than all pain that had briefly darkened us.
God is forever seeking our good. he does not want us to avoid trials. He knows that to avoid trials is to live in a false reality of a sin-ridden earth. We are not called by God to live blissfully ignorant of the sin and pain around us. We are called by God to walk boldly into it. We are called to stand firm in love in order to show those who are lost and full of darkness the Light of Jesus Christ. God has called us to love those who will hurt us. As Christians we are set up to be wronged, hated, persecuted, outcasted, blamed, laughed at, spit upon, abused, and the like. We endure this all so that we can show love to those who have no clue what love through grace and forgiveness is.
Of course we are to go through trials unsurprised (1 Peter 4:12). This is the “narrow” path to glory. Few travel this path. However, many walk the wide path beside it, on comfortable level ground, believing they are on the rough path to glory. If we do not place ourselves under the loving chastening of God and trials then nobody is going to hear about Jesus. We’ll be left seeing the believers we’ve been so close to for years in the church up in the heavenly places with us while so many friends, family and forgotten souls are scattered in hell. Start denying yourself in the uncomfortable trials and situations that will change you to be glorified with Christ. As you suffer you will suffer with Christ. These light afflictions can never compare to the weighted glory of being identified with the Holy One. For in His greatest trial and affliction, which was seen through His bloody death on the cross, He was was soon resurrected for eternity with all glory and dominion added to Him. Satan “bruised [Christ’s] heel” for only a moment, but Christ delivered the fatal blow to Satan’s “head” to destroy him for eternity (Genesis 3:15). Let us be encouraged to know that these trials cannot destroy us. They will bring pain, but that pain can never overpower the beautiful glory that is surely coming soon.