Of what do you think when you see a title like, “Lite Affliction?” It’s really meant to connect us in the modern use of “lite” as in lower in calories or something that is not as much as it could be. Believe it or not it’s actually used in a name of an exercise routine for those who don’t want to exercise much, they can do “lite sets” of a “lite workout.”
It’s really interesting then to turn to the Bible and see how the Apostle Paul used the term lite, although the modern spelling hadn’t been invented when he wrote, nevertheless notice how he referenced his “light momentary affliction:
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 (ESV) — 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.
Of course, his thought about the eternal glory that would be his made his assessment of whatever he was facing in affliction as light. Let’s back up and notice what all he would call “light affliction.”
2 Corinthians 4:8–11 (ESV) — 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Please notice how Paul looked at all adversity. It wasn’t an occasion for a pity party, rather it was an opportunity to see the sustaining grace of God in action, to identify with the sufferings of Christ, and to focus on the glory that awaits the child of God.
Have you ever considered that latter point, namely the glory that will be yours one day as a child of God?
Romans 8:18 (ESV) — 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
There is glory that will be revealed to every follower of the Lord Jesus Christ upon death.
Philippians 1:21–24 (ESV) — 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
2 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV) — 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
2 Timothy 4:6–8 (ESV) — 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Just to be present with the Lord Jesus Christ will be beyond good. So much so that any affliction we experience here, is light in comparison. But it gets better.
The glory of the saints enjoying the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ will be interrupted briefly, although they will never be separated from the Lord, they return for the resurrection of their bodies, to be reunited in their resurrected body, and among other things be part of the marriage supper of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, and the new heavens and new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. But the glory of eternity is the presence of the Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 3:13 (ESV) — 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Jude 14 (ESV) — 14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones,
1 Thessalonians 4:16–18 (ESV) — 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Corinthians 15:51–57 (ESV) — 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Can you read any of the above and think any affliction you are have faced, in presently, or will come against will ever compare in magnitude to what God has in store for you. No wonder we are admonished to be content as we keep in mind the “lightness” of this present trial or affliction. This what Paul learned from the “thorn in the flesh” experience.
2 Corinthians 12:7–10 (ESV) — 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Whatever you face, you can call it “lite affliction” because it’s lite compared the magnitude of grace that is yours through the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to be a child of God, grace to live, grace for your trials, grace to face death, and grace to have hope of the glory that shall be yours. When you look at it that way, why of course it’s merely “lite affliction.”
Bob Brubaker, Pastor
Christ Community Presbyterian Church – Clearwater, FL