"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
It's not every day you will find me suggesting that you need to put on weight. Taking it off? Yup.
But, I was thinking today about difficult times as a wife and especially as a mother. Undoubtedly, my most challenging moments come when dealing with my children. Every. Day.
The word "affliction" in the verse above, can actually be translated as "pressure". As wives and mothers, (and particularly home-schooling Mum's) we have moments EVERY day, when we feel under pressure.
We feel the pressure of disciplining our children, when they err in a particular way AGAIN. When they push us to our limits. When they test our authority as a parent.
We feel the pressure of those looking on from the outside. Are we managing to keep our home clean and tidy? Is the front garden respectable? Are ALL of those faces clean and shiny, with the children wearing clean and matching clothes, when we go out? Are they behaving in public? Are they saying the right thing to the right people?
What about the simple pressure of just fitting in all the jobs we need to do in a day? When they seem to mount up and overwhelm us?
We feel the pressure of pleasing our husband. Wanting to know that his needs are met, in whatever ways we can. To know that he has us there to support and encourage him, whilst juggling meal-planning, dinner preparation, house-work and home-school, amongst a gazillion other things.
We feel the pressure of the desire to have our daily quiet time - squeezing in those moments reading your Bible in peace, or trying to get a few moments to commune with the Lord in prayer.
The list is endless, and unique to each individual - in whatever way you feel the pressures of life.
But, the thing we need to keep in focus is this....are we putting our efforts into the things that are "seen" or the the things that are "unseen".
I'm not just talking about what the public sees, versus what goes on behind our front door.
I'm talking temporal versus spiritual.
Ultimately, what counts? The eternal. The things that mould the character of our child for eternity.
Is it not better that we spend the time placing the emphasis on training them up in the ways of the Lord, rather than worrying about the "things that are seen"? Worrying about what others think, rather than what the Lord thinks, will not benefit anyone.
Now, don't get me wrong, and read something I am not saying. I am NOT suggesting that these other things are WRONG. Spending all our time and effort on them, and feeling the pressure to achieve them just to please others, IS. Putting more priority into achieving them, than in shaping the behaviour of our children, and training them up in the ways of the Lord, is wrong.
The encouragement comes in this - the pressure we feel, whilst fulfilling these good things in the lives of our children, IS worth it. It carries weight. A weight that is worth having.
An eternal weight of glory.
All these things that we do, with a right perspective, and a right motivation, have an eternal value.
Seeking to honour the Lord, as we fulfil our daily duties, not matter how tough those daily duties become - holds an eternal weight.
Daily guiding and training up our children, in the ways of the Lord - a work not always seen from the outside because the Holy Spirit is working away in their heart - holds and eternal weight.
Being a good example, in our duties as a wife and mother, no matter how much pressure we feel in trying to do it all - holds an eternal weight.
Ultimately, the fact that we feel pressure at all, implies that we are TRYING to do something, and that alone holds a weight of it's own.
And, what is that eternal weight?...it's a weight of GLORY! Of receiving honour, for the labours we endure. An eternal and spiritual honour, which far outweighs any honour we may receive whilst on this earth. Whilst it's nice to have our labours acknowledged by those around us, and especially those we hold dear, it's that eternal weight of glory that we should seek to attain. That we should keep our focus on, when days are tough, and the pressure seems to mount.
It IS worth it...all those moments of pressure and trial - add them all up, and think of the weight of glory that you will receive at the end of your days!
If the Lord wills, our most glorious moment will be seeing our children coming to a personal knowledge of the Saviour, and trusting in Him for salvation.
Lift your eyes from the "moment" and look for the "glory".