It makes a world of difference whether you stand at the cross of Christ and see the hatred of the unbelieving Jews, and the shed blood and pain which He endured, or whether you look at what He was earning for us through that suffering and death.
It makes a world of difference also whether you look simply at your own afflictions, or at that which these afflictions will bring you. Thus in II Corinthians 4:17 we read, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Look at those bodily afflictions and you will see what Adam brought upon man through his sin. If you look no deeper, you will judge the punishment of God to be falling upon the afflicted. But if you look into the heart of the child of God who is being afflicted, you see the work of God's grace whereby He is bringing that child of God to heavenly glory. As Paul says to the Philippians in chapter 1:21, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Get that! For the child of God to suffer and die brings him gain, not loss. This is certainly true when the affliction is persecution because of faith in God. It is that to which Paul refers here in II Corinthians 4:17 . These afflictions will be "for a moment," but they bring us to everlasting glory in a life completely without affliction.
When you look at what God did to your soul you see what He will do pretty soon to your body. Sooner or later men are going to see our dead bodies in coffins. But take hold of this comforting truth that through death God brings our souls out of all misery and pain into an endless life of heavenly glory. Therefore it is also a sign that the body will be raised, when Christ returns, and will be changed into one that will never have an ache or pain, but enjoy an everlasting fellowship with God in a more wonderful world than Adam and Eve enjoyed before they fell into sin. Fear not if the world persecutes. Look at what God is doing.
Read: II Corinthians 4 .
Quote for Reflection:
“Having ascended, Jesus Christ is at the right hand of God in this same nature which He assumed with us. This is so that we may be assured that since we are in His protection no evil can happen to us. True, He permits us to be hampered by our flesh and to be surrounded with many miseries. But what of it? He is always ready to stretch out to us His hand, and we must be certain that although we suffer for a time the end of it will be for our salvation…Although I am weak, there is Jesus Christ, who is powerful enough to make me stand upright. Although I am feeble, there is Jesus Christ, who is my strength…Yes, the devil is called the prince of this world. But what of it? Jesus Christ holds him in check…There are devils above us who make war against us. But what of it? Jesus Christ rules above, having entire control of the battle…Yes, I am here subject to many changes which may cause me to lose courage. But what of it? The Son of God is my Head and exempt from all change. I must, then, take confidence in Him. This is how we must look at His Ascension.” (John Calvin, Sermon 15 on the Deity of Christ).