For this light momentary affliction is preparing for usan eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison... I Corinthians 4:17
Tonight I'm on the phone with a friend and we're talking about the weight of glory like we know what we're talking about. We've seen our fair share of light momentary afflictions and we're both crying "Maranatha!" in our stronger moments.
Come quickly, we're saying, and in the meantime we're shouldering our share of the burden.
"Did you know that the Hebrew word for glory is the same word for heavy?" she asks me. She's in seminary and seminarians know these things. I tell her I didn't know that but it seems fitting, doesn't it? If you can follow it through, the weight of glory is the heaviness of glory is the glory of glory is the glory of heaviness is the glory of weight—and isn't it a beautiful picture when you put it like that?
This light momentary affliction is preparing us for the glory of bearing it through til the end. Finishing well. Finishing without comparison, because we know there is no comparison or coupling in heaven—we will be all too enamored with the King of Kings to consider our neighbor.
And let me be straight—our momentary affliction is not the stuff of real suffering, we have food enough and friends enough and He carries us through in the meantime. But our momentary affliction comes from the comparison we are so wont to do here on earth, and isn't it the way for us all?
No one else seems to struggle here or with this. No one else has to muscle their way through this experience, so why us? Why me? These are the existential questions of our momentary affliction. It is fitting, then, that Paul would use the word comparison when he talks of the weight of glory, isn't it? Listen here, he's saying, you who are looking around you and experiencing the stuff of the earth in deeper and more painful ways than your counterparts are, what it's preparing you for is a glory you can't compare, not even on your best day.
I imagine, for one moment, Isaiah in the year King Uzziah died, seeing the Lord in all His glory. Isaiah, who was undone by all that glorious glory. "Woe is me." I imagine the burning coal touching his mouth and his admission that he would go anywhere the Lord sent Him.
I imagine that and I can bear almost anything.