Afflictions Eclipsed by Glory
Ephesians 6:12 instructs Christians that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Honestly, there have been times in my life when I felt so hurt that those holy words may as well have been written in a foreign language to me. Although I believed the words to be true, I didn’t understand how to apply their truth, and my struggles still felt very real. It is important to note that the trials we face are real. In Ephesians Paul is NOT saying our problems don’t exist or that we should somehow “just get over it.” Scripture instructs us that while the trials we are facing do exist they are not as we see them with our fleshly eyes. There is a very real spiritual realm outside of the tangible world in which we live. The fact that we can’t physically see it does not negate its impacts on our lives. Scripture calls us to equip ourselves biblically in the midst of these trials. We can start to obey by opening the Holy Word and by praying for wisdom and discernment for the things of God.
We act on what we believe, and our actions reveal our beliefs. Thus, if we truly believe God’s Word to be inerrant truth, our behavior will exemplify our faith. As we look to the Bible for answers one of the first scriptures we must come to terms with is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We need to understand and believe that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” In other words, we must understand and submit to the FACT that the entirety of scripture is the Word of God and therefore is TRUTH. It is then and only then that His Word will have its full effect in our lives.
As we enter into maturity in faith we can see His holy Word to be absolute truth which enables us to overcome our trials with joy. Remember the trial, existing on the natural plane, is still very real, but when we believe the Word of God and cling to the promises of scripture we can take omfort in the knowledge that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6.) Now we can truly, with joy, begin the journey toward becoming the mature and complete man or woman of faith that He is calling us to become through the trials that we face. James 1:2-4 says Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. With spiritual eyes we can see that God has a purpose for the trial(s) we are facing. We will recognize that He allows or even brings about these difficult circumstances in our lives for our own benefit and for His Glory.
In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 the bible has this to say about our trials “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 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.” I love the song “How He Loves us” because of a particular verse: “These afflictions eclipsed by glory” When I first heard those words I was overwhelmed. I was taken back to an extremely hard time in my marriage. During this time the “afflictions” in my life, did not seem at all light or momentary. In fact I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders, and I felt like the burdens would never be lifted. In the spiritual realm I saw how my afflictions (those afflictions that are the reason I surrendered to Christ) were eclipsed by His Glory. Hallelujah!!!
His Word proved true to me as they always do. It wasn’t easy, but He was with me every step of the way. Even when I could not feel His presence, He was there protecting me, guiding me, sustaining me. We MUST be diligent to walk out our faith. We MUST confess our sins one to another and repent of the things that do not please Him. He is for us and ready to help us. He is full of love and mercy!
Praise you my King, for the reproof you provide in my life, for the wise correction you utilize to mature my faith, for training me in righteousness through your Word and for teaching me. Father, continue to birth in me a teachable spirit. Help me to walk in obedience to your Word and help me to be a vessel of your encouragement. Lord, thank you for constant reminders of the valleys you led me through and for creating beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3.)