For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen. but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (II Corinthians 4:17,18).
Too often we are so attuned to our present troublesome circumstances that immediate relief or gratification motivates what we do. Not so with Paul. He realized that our affliction is light and lasts but for a moment. When we are in the pressure-cooker of tribulation, we should remember that it is only temporary.
In our text Paul focuses on the unseen in times of trouble. Note: We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (vv.8,9). Troubled is the same Greek word as afflicted, and it is on every side and yet, he says, we are not distressed. If Paul had seen only his circumstances, he would have given up, but he focused on the truth that God is faithful, who . . . will with the temptation also make a way to escape (I Corinthians 10:13). Next, he says we are perplexed, but not in despair. A Christian is never without resources: He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32). Paul was persecuted, but, through it all, he saw the unseen Savior who suffered, being forsaken by His Father, that we might never be deserted or left behind.
Finally, Paul says we are cast down, but not destroyed. The Bible says that A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again (Proverbs 24:16). To be destroyed is to be dead, but a Christian possesses the greatest of all trouble-conquering resourceseternal life. CJH