FELLOWSHIP IN SUFFERING BRINGS FELLOWSHIP IN GLORY
"Our light affliction . . . works for us" 2 Cor. 4:17
The first impression made upon the mind as these words are read is that almost of amazement that Paul could speak of his afflictions as light. He had described them very clearly, as he spoke of himself and of those associated with, him in ministry, as "pressed," "perplexed," "pursued," "smitten down," "always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus," "always delivered unto death." And these were no mere figures of speech. Very literally these things were true. And yet, summing them all up, he described them as "our light affliction." Moreover, he thought of them all, not as FOES but as ALLIES OF THE SOUL, for he declared that in their totality as affliction, it "works for us." This was the conviction which made him speak of it as light. That to which it tended was glory so wonderful that he could only describe it as "an eternal weight of glory." Still further let it be noted that this reference to glory was not merely to the glory of the life beyond. It was a PRESENT EXPERIENCE, and a growing one, for said he, affliction "works for us more and more exceedingly." In the process of affliction GLORY was present, and it grew. That is the real burden of all this teaching. Over against every description of affliction is one of glory, "not straitened," "not unto despair," "not forsaken," "not destroyed," "the life of Jesus . . . manifested in our body," "the life of Jesus . . . manifested in our mortal flesh." These are things of glory, and the entire affliction which accompanies service works these things. Thus it always is. FELLOWSHIP WITH THE SUFFERING SAVIOR IS FELLOWSHIP IN THE GLORY OF HIS TRIUMPHS.