“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NIV).
There’s an old adage that says, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” (author unknown). The inverse of this statement, then, might be “The road to Heaven is paved with sorrows and troubles.” The passage above, from Paul’s second letter to the Church at Corinth, would seem to support such a statement concerning the connection between Earthly sorrows and Heavenly rewards.
For Paul and other Christians, “…light and momentary troubles…” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV) could mean a variety of things. Certainly, the Christian must navigate the day-to-day struggles that all people deal with. But, the Christian must also face persecutions of all kinds. Throughout the ages, Christians around the world have paid the ultimate price for their faith, giving up their temporal lives for their eternal destiny.
Don’t misunderstand. The Christian doesn’t gain Heaven because he has lived a good life or even because he has faced a valiant death. Our salvation is entirely based upon Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Still, the Christian life is one marked by trouble.
I want to leave you today with two verses that speak to the issue of Earthly sorrows and Heavenly rewards. Jesus told his disciples, “ ‘…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ ”(John 16:33, NIV). Paul shared a similar sentiment when he stated, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18, NIV). We live, and we die, in Christ. Glory awaits.