What word would you use to describe adversity in your life? To most people, it is a heavy, inescapable burden that wears them down, saps their joy, and hinders them from truly living. Those that follow Jesus, however, have the opportunity to see adversity as a bridge leading to a glorious eternal future.
The determining factor in how a follower of Jesus views hardship is perspective. If we focus only on the negative aspects of our earthly life, we’ll be drawn into despair and desperation-a common worldly perspective. But if we look at problems from an eternal standpoint, our thinking and attitudes will be transformed in the following ways:
- Instead of letting difficulties wear us down, we won’t lose heart, because we know we’re being renewed from within (2 Corinthians 4:7-18). As we respond in submission to whatever God is allowing in our life and trust in His good purposes, our character is shaped into Christlikeness and our hope is restored.
- The despair of feeling that our adversity is inescapable and never-ending will be replaced with strength to endure. Paul said he was afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, and constantly threatened with death, yet he called it all “light and momentary” compared to eternity (2 Corinthians 4:8-11, 17 NIV).
- Rather than seeing adversity as a thief of all joy and a hindrance to a good life, we should look beyond the present to what the trial is producing for us in heaven-“an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (v. 17).
Viewing troubles through an eternal lens is an act of faith, which pleases God. It increases our trust in Him, gives us greater passion for our heavenly inheritance, and strengthens us to victoriously cross the bridge of adversity.
Portions of commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, November 7, 2017.