In his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul described the troubles and persecutions he and his companions were suffering as they spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Through all the dangers and threats of death, God never abandoned them, and the Life of Jesus inside enabled them to continue preaching.
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long,” he wrote. “Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them, and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on the things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:17,18 NLT
Even though most of our troubles are small in comparison to what Paul describes of his own experience, I doubt whether our first reaction would be “our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.” Indeed, they can often seem overwhelming; and the end of them may not even be in sight. But the presence of Jesus with us, like a great treasure within a clay jar, brings us a true perspective. The glory that awaits will far outweigh all our sufferings for His sake; not only that, but the glory is eternal, while all troubles on this earth will come to an end.
Paul had discovered a great secret. The things around us, that we can see, that can so take over our attention, will all pass away; the things we can see only by faith in Christ–His Light and Power and Glory, and His presence with us– will last forever.