2Corinthians 4:16-17 (Amp)
Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is [progressively] renewed day after day.
For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!]
Perhaps at this time it is impossible for you to add your "Amen!" to this verse. You are discouraged and wearied - and although it is true that your "outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away," the inner man seems to be absent. To speak of life-changing chronic illness as a "light, momentary affliction" is beyond you at this moment.
Few of us are as single-minded and strong as the Apostle Paul. But to speak like Paul, to walk like Paul, we have to figure out what his outlook was and how he got there.
Paul himself had a chronic affliction. Some think it was his eyesight, others have different theories. But it was chronic, constant and disabling enough that Paul prayed 3 times to be healed of it.
Think of this now: Paul, a man of whom the Word says "...and God did unusual and extraordinary miracles (Acts 19:11-12) by the hands of Paul so that handkerchiefs or towels or aprons which had touched his skin were carried away and put upon the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them."
And yet God refused to heal him.
God chose this illness for Paul, chose to use his ailing, weak body to display the power of grace. In answer to Paul's third request for healing, Jesus said to him, (2Corinthians 12:9) " ...My grace (My favor and loving kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]: for My strength and power is made perfect (fulfilled, completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness."
Paul's answer to this is also recorded: " Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weakness and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me."
I can imagine some jealous individual sneering that Paul, who was a short, odd-looking man according to Josephus, could heal others but couldn't even heal himself. So added to his daily struggles were those who sought to defame and denigrate him.
Yet, Paul found Jesus was enough - His presence in the person of the Holy Spirit and His grace - that same grace that would "pitch a tent over and dwell " on him. From this response on Paul's part we know he availed himself of that grace, and sought continuously to have that tent pitched directly over him.
Do we avail ourselves of that grace?
I don't know about you, but complaints spill out of me as easily as water spills from a joggled cup. Then when I realize I was murmuring, I have to confess and ask His forgiveness.
But I want Christ to spill out of me, not complaints. I want others to see that tent of grace pitched over me and realize that I couldn't possibly handle this on my own, couldn't be a conqueror, let alone more than one (Romans 8:37).
I want my life to show that His grace is more than sufficient.
I have a loooong way to go. One step at a time.
How about you?