the Inward Life Triumphant over Affliction 2Co 4:7-18
Few men have been more conscious of their weakness than was the Apostle. The earthen vessel had become very cracked and scratched, but the heavenly treasure was unimpaired, as in the case of Gideon, when the pitcher was broken the lantern shone out. Paul here confesses that he was troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down, always bearing the scars of Jesus, and being perpetually delivered over to death. But he gratefully accepted all these disabilities because he knew that they gave greater opportunities to Jesus to show forth, through him, His resurrection power. With the daily decay of the outward, there came the renewal of the unseen and spiritual. It is only in proportion as we are conformed to the sufferings and death of Christ that we begin to realize the fullness of what He is, and what He can be or do through us. Our one thought must always be the glory of Christ in the salvation of others.
Note the contrasts of 2Co 4:17 . The affliction is light, but the glory of the future is fraught with radiant and satisfying blessedness. The one is transient, the other eternal. The one is the price of the other, though each is the gift of God. The comet which has gone farthest into the outer darkness returns closest to the central sun.