2 Corinthians 4:13-18
13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Affliction is like the blows of a great hammer. It can smash and destroy, or it can build or beautify. It all depends on how we face our afIliction. If we face it alone it can lead to despair and to utter defeat. If we face it with faith its results can be amazingly beneficial flnd worthwhile. This is the substance of our text:
We are often beaten down by our afflictions A. We have afflictions. They strike us from every side and take many different forms. Yours may be a humiliating failure in some endeavor that you had undertaken. It may be a crippling, mutilating injury or a devastating personal disappointment. It may be a nagging unhappiness, a painful, deteriorating disease, or even death itself may have taken a loved one or may threaten to take you. In the verses preceding our text (8-11) St. Paul enumerates the afflictions he en-countered in his missionary work. Few of us are called upon to suffer so grievously in connection with our Christian service; nevertheless we have plenty of afflictions. B. Afflictions beat us down. When affliction strikes it can stun and wound and destroy. Many a strong and promising individual has been overwhelmed by his troubles. To see your life and future battered down by forces beyond your control is at times more than you can take. You become depressed and embittered. You may feel like quitting altogether or like turning to some dangerous and evil solution. Your spiritual vitality sags. Hope disappears. C. This happens because we are looking only at the shattering, painful side of it. We are watching “the things that are seen” (v. 18) and “the outward man” (v.16). As this present creation creaks and groans in its corrupted state, our present existence becomes futile and frightening; as our present bodies waste away, we stand by in horrified fascination. Our complete attention is engulfed by the sight, and it leaves us weak and trembling.
This is a portion of an outline written by Milton Rudnick years ago. It reflects the way a lot of us feel every morning during the last year. What next? Where is the hit coming this time? Tomorrow we will explain about Milton and what he did and finish his devotion.