“In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy” (2 Corinthians 7:4)
The apostle Paul knows what he is talking about when he mentions the word “affliction”. He has experienced “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger…” (2 Corinthians 6:4-5). And nevertheless, he says that he is overflowing with joy in all this. How can this be?!?
An important explanation is found in Romans 8:18, also written by Paul: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Just as Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him, so Paul is able to endure his sufferings because he knows that a glorious future is awaiting him. He knows that he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. He knows that the Lord will invite him to spend eternity in the presence of the King of Kings in endless gladness.
Jesus especially encourages people who suffer for their faith. He tells them, “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven” (Luke 6:23). God will turn their weeping into joy.
Will you also spend eternity in God’s presence? Does this outlook fill your heart with joy?