~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Note that the Apostle calls our sufferings on this Earth "light" and "momentary". They sure don't feel that way for many of you, do they? (It is good to remember that Paul endured great sufferings and deprivations during his ministry.)
Here's the thing: we have been rescued from our hell-bound race, redeemed from slavery to sin and Satan by the blood of Christ, declared righteous in God's sight, shown favor instead of wrath-deserved and adopted into God's family as co-heirs with Christ. What am I saying? I am saying that if you are in Christ, these things (and more) are what we have in Christ right now and your biggest problem has been solved! What is the biggest problem in the universe? As John Piper succinctly states, "The forgiveness of sins is the biggest problem in the universe!" Thus, everything else we go through in this life is gravy since our biggest problem has been solved. This is not to minimize the suffering and pain that people (including myself) have endured here on Earth. That is real suffering and real pain. Some of it is very, very hard and some of it is so horrible and unrelenting that it defies comprehension. Hear me, I don't want to minimize that. But compared to the pain and the suffering that is endless and unrelenting in Hell it doesn't compare? Let's be honest, what is the transitory when compared with eternity? In addition, we are not just saved from Hell, but for those who have taken hold of Christ, we are saved for Heaven and will spend an eternity in glory with our Savior. When we understand the truth of this, there really is no comparison.
Why is this important? Paul tells us: So we don't lose heart. What this truth does is give us a proper perspective for what we go through here on Earth to bring encouragement and hope. We can bring this perspective into our current situation and say "this is hard, but I can endure since it is light and momentary compared to what I will have for all of eternity." This life is not all that there is. We have a hope that is real in Heaven where Jesus Christ is. When we have this perspective in place, it fills our hearts with gratitude to God now that our biggest problem has been solved. When we have this perspective and this gratitude we can actually say that since we have Christ everything else is gravy...