What if I were to tell those of you who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ that your greatest occupational duty or job, if you will--the one that will be the most rewarding, most fun, most adventuresome, most interesting, most exciting, and really thrilling with absolutely no negative downside whatsoever—is being prepared for you right now, even as I speak? And what if I were to tell you that you are being prepared for this job, this really awesome responsibility and in fact great occupation through your suffering, trials, afflictions, loneliness, heartaches, pain, grief, sin battles, and even your failures? Would you believe me?
Well—believe it or not this is what the Bible teaches in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 where the apostle Paul makes the point that God is using our afflictions, pain, and suffering to produce for us an eternal weight of glory. Essentially, what Paul is pointing out is that . . . .as believers, the secret to not losing heart and becoming discouraged with our troubles, afflictions, heartaches, failures, suffering, pain, grief, and yes, even our sin--is knowing that God is using these very things to not only prepare us for Heaven but specifically to be able to enjoy heaven to the hilt. And it is this enjoyment of heaven that Paul refers to as an eternal weight of glory.
We don’t use the word “weighty” very much anymore but back when we did it had the idea of something important which had a certain heaviness to it in the sense of a weighty responsibility, a hefty obligation, an important duty, and even an all-consuming occupation. So what Paul is saying is that through our afflictions God is preparing us for some kind of weighty responsibility and full-time all-consuming occupation, if you will. And then he qualifies this eternal weight by describing it as having something to do with "glory”.
The word “glory” from which we get “glorious” is referring to that which is full of splendor, beauty, brilliance, grandeur, magnificence, and wonder so as to be fully marveled at and enjoyed with intensity. It is what Jesus can’t wait for us to see, experience, and enjoy in John 17:24.
"Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world."
And if our enjoying His glory is what Jesus is looking forward to then it must be big. To see and enjoy God’s glorious presence and His glory in all that He has prepared for us in Heaven will be the adventure, pleasure, and purposeful occupation of an eternal lifetime. Here's a dismal illustration in comparison to what Jesus wants for us but it at least gets you thinking along His line of thinking. Can you imagine getting a job at Disney World and the boss tells you the only thing you have to do—your primary responsibility—you’re duty and the very reason you get up every morning is to come here and enjoy me and everything that is in this park to the best of your ability. That is what I am paying you for.
And what the Bible wants us to see is that God is using our afflictions, our trials, our suffering, and yes—even our pain to refocus our spiritual eyes, senses, and perceptions on what is real, valuable, and eternal as opposed to what is transitory, fleeting, inferior, and really nothing more than fruitless joys in comparison. That is what He means in 2 Corinthians 4:18 when He tells us that what we can see, perceive, and comprehend on this earth and in this life are temporary but what we can’t see and comprehend yet, because it is simply beyond our ability to see, perceive, comprehend, and let me add—enjoy yet—is eternal.
So, our momentary light afflictions of living life in a sin-ridden, sin-loving, sin-sick, sin-afflicted, ever dying and suffering world as people who are afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down is preparing us for heaven so that we can fully enjoy it. Our afflictions are producing within us a taste and a desire for something far superior and far more enjoyable than anything we have ever known or imagined. And this enjoyment of heaven is described as an eternal weight of glory because it will not be a half-hearted, temporary, fleeting, momentarily enjoyable diversion from pain or an interruption of life’s routine boredom.
In essence, what God is doing in all of our pain and afflictions is rewiring us for glory. Because in Heaven that is what life is all about—enjoying the intense, unending, ever-increasing, tangible, actual, palpable, rapturous, and real pleasure of God's glory which will unrelentingly capture your full attention and appetite—once God has rewired you to be able to take it all in.