Apples of Gold

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Our Light Affliction

'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.'

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Anyone suffering in any way could easily take the Apostle to task over his choice of words here had he not listed his own trials in another place.

The words ‘light affliction’ just do not seem to be compatible with Christian experience! Any affliction that I have suffered has been anything but light. I have found them to be the most difficult times of my life. I felt not only troubled on every side, but also distressed, perplexed and also in despair, forsaken and almost destroyed.

There have been days when I felt that I was being tried beyond what I was able to bear. I coped because I had no choice! The truth of the matter is that God upheld me, though at the time I was not truly aware of it. I clung on when there was nothing to cling on to.

I hoped against hope for better days, but they always remained a distant dream. I felt forsaken of God and that God was angry with me. I could not pray - I just uttered moans and groans. I could in no way have described it as light! Some days the physical pain practically took my breath away. I pleaded for grace and relief, yet my requests somehow melted unheeded and unanswered into the atmosphere.

Days seemed never ending. Life itself was miserable, not only for me but for those around me. My trials affected the ones I loved the most in this life because it left me cast down and paralysed in spirit. Pain it seemed was to be my constant companion and I found it to be frustrating beyond words. I still do!

Even when trials are over there may be times when we have been that deflated by them that we do not even realise that they are over. We may have anticipated an ‘instant fix’ to our problems.

We may have expected a great light to dawn, but often the thing that caused the problem is removed far from us –over a period of time - and we are left as a soldier in the middle of no man's land.

We ask, is this respite before the next wave comes or has it truly ended?

We even come to the conclusion that we will remain in this condition for the rest of our lives. We thus end up living in morbidity - a living nightmare. We cannot approach God for anything because in our minds we have already decided that He is not going to listen to us.

There is no point in praying because He is not going to answer. Have you been there?

These feeling can be very real and frightening to us and I believe they are generated in Hell itself. Satan does not want to see lively Christians. He will do all in his power to limit our effectiveness in this life and often he succeeds.

God however is in control, and that is something that we must never forget.

He is the Captain of the ship upon which we sail. There is no point in us fretting about our journey as we do not have the skill or ability to steer the ship. The destination however remains the same for every Christian. It is Immanuel's Land.

The only way Paul could consider his afflictions as being light was as he balanced them while viewing the heavenly shore. Our life here is but for a short time. The number of breaths that we will take in this life are numbered. Even should we live to be a hundred, it will pass as a tale that is told.

Soon all our trials will be over. Our grieving will turn to joy, our tears will be wiped away by God Himself and our filthy rags will be replaced with garments of splendour.

No longer will there be days when we dread facing the world. There will be no night there, no darkness, no pain, no persecution, no fear and no more affliction.

How long will this experience last? For all eternity. An eternity in the company of the One we desire so much to see.

It is a good thing when we can manage to view the glory that awaits us. Then we know that the  troubles that affect us today will end. We will smile again, we will know great joy and we shall abide in the place where perfect love casts out fear.

‘The troubles that afflict the just in number many be, but yet at length out of them all, the Lord doth set him free.’

Each day in this life we have a choice. We can either view our troubles and wallow in them or we can look beyond them to better days. The more time that our minds spend in the land of Beulah the lighter our present affliction will seem.

May you be given a view of the 'things which are unseen' this day. May you spend this day in the company of the Man whose hands were pierced for your sin and for mine. I pray with all the love in my heart that you will know life more abundant this day and for ever.

Weeping may for a night endures, at morn doth joy arise.

Author - Iain Mackenzie  Edited by - Pastor Al Moak