Stressed or Blessed?
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
I once read of a laboratory experiment that was designed to test a person’s ability to tolerate pain. The test subject had his or her hand fitted into a device which produced heat. The hand could not be easily removed, and only the signal button in the free hand could be used to alert the tester to stop the heat. The tester knew how much heat could be applied without causing damage, and the object was designed to show the level of toleration of the pain created by the heat.
When the test subject pressed the button to reduce the heat, the tester ignored the signal and the heat continued to increase. The test continued until the subject cried out in pain or attempted to free the hand from the heat. The test results were interesting —they showed that the tolerance to pain was almost always about twice what the test subjects felt they could tolerate.
When I heard about this experiment I wondered what would prompt scientists to perform such seemingly cruel tests. I am sure it had something to do with providing pain blockers of some kind, but it also caused me to ponder. I guess I am still pondering—”How much is too much?”
When Paul was writing these words in his second letter to the church at Corinth, he mentions “light and momentary troubles.” Right! Go back a few verses and see what these light and momentary troubles were. In verses 8-9: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Isn’t it amazing that he calls these just light and momentary troubles?
How in the world could Paul take such a view of the trials he had endured? In 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, he mentions his many beatings, lashes, stoning, shipwrecks and the like. Wow! Those are the very things he calls light and momentary?
In comparison, what are our big complaints? We certainly may be encountering trials and troubles, but it is nothing by comparison. We have become such whimpering babies about living out our faith that it is no wonder the world does not see Christ in us.
Here is the bottom line—while we may encounter stress in many forms and in varying degrees, it is easy to get our eyes focused on the stress. When our attention becomes preoccupied by stresses, we have a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. That is why some people seem to go from one stressful situation to another.
It is essential that we look beyond the stress and see that a blessing is waiting for the believer. It is not wise to seek after the blessing that is ours as an inheritance from the Lord Himself when we become the children of God through the new birth. Rather than seeking blessings, we are to look only to Jesus and constantly seek to please Him in all we do. We may be stressed, but at the same time we must remember that we are also blessed.
Blessings dear hearts. Draw near to God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing!
— Pastor Cecil
Insights on John – Chuck Swindoll
Hardcover Book: $20.84 (last checked)
Insights on John is part of the 15-volume Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary series. This newly revised and expanded edition draws on Gold Medallion Award–winner Chuck Swindoll’s 50 years of experience with studying and preaching God’s Word. His deep insight, signature easygoing style, and humor bring a warmth and practical accessibility not often found in commentaries.