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Nobody Knows the Trouble You’ve Seen

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

2 Corinthians 4:17

All of us have experienced troubles. Some more than others. I would like to tell you that from this moment forward you will be problem free, but that would be a lie.

Troubles come big and small without invitation. They are no respecter of persons, and they target all socioeconomic classes.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old expression, “Look on the bright side.” That’s something we say to make a troubled friend feel better about their dismal circumstances. And that’s exactly the tact taken by the Apostle Paul in our focus text. He even categorized his troubles as “light and momentary.”

Paul wasn’t being flippant or overly optimistic. This wasn’t a Pollyanna response to hardship. He was well aware of the difficulties he faced and the pain he had already endured. He was looking beyond troubled waters to the destination that awaited on the other side.

My first duty station in the Navy was in Hawaii. When I received orders to transfer to Norfolk, I decided to have my car shipped to the mainland where I would pick it up and drive cross-country to my home in Virginia. It’s a long way from San Francisco to Strasburg, especially in a rusty 1961 Chevy Impala.

On the second day of my journey it conked out in a small desert town. Alternator or regulator maybe. Credit cards hadn’t become mainstream in my world of 1969, consequently I had to pay the bill with cash. My motel fund was depleted. I would either have to sleep in the car or keep driving until I completed the 2,800 mile journey. I elected the latter. Oh, I forgot to mention. The old Chevy had no heat. I suppose it was accustomed to the Hawaiian climate. And since I had been living in Hawaii, I didn’t have a coat with me. I grabbed my wool Navy uniform from the back seat and wrapped it around me. Then in the middle of the night, I got lost in the Ozark Mountains. By daylight, I was back on track, but lacked the funds to buy food.  All I could think about was home sweet home. So I pressed on, stopping only for gas. A thousand miles later, I arrived at my destination just as my family was sitting down for Sunday dinner.

That dreadful journey seemed to last forever, but actually lasted three days. In retrospect it wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed at the time. Once I was home and looking back, I realized that my ordeal was “light and momentary.” In fact, it was thoughts of home that gave me the wherewithal to keep on going.

Paul was driven by the vision of a perfect place where there would be no more troubles or sorrows. Great joy awaited on the other side. He knew the burdens experienced here were trivial compared to the eternal glory that awaited with the Lord in His heaven. Faith puts the problems of life in proper perspective.

We’ll close with a review of Paul’s “light and momentary troubles” that he recaps in Chapter 11. Remember his words as you read the inspiring Christian perspective that awaits “an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27

For more on this topic, check out this article: When You Encounter Fire and Rain

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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