"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renbewed day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things that 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
This is one of the most encouraging passages in the whole Bible to me! We live in a culture that puts almost all of it's focus on what we see - what is here on this earth - clothes, food, homes, romance, pleasure, possesions ... but this attitude is so different from what the Bible says shoudl be our focus! We need to have eyes for eternity. Even as a child I remember loving the idea that our lives as believers in Jesus continued into heaven. I loved a movie where the body of Johnny Appleseed is described as "Just his mortal husk!" I knew that there was so much more to life than just this body of ours. It's just a home for our spirit during the short existence of this earthly world. The REAL and best existence is our life which will continue forever in heaven.
Another thing that this passage in Corinthians reminds us of is that there IS suffering for believers here on earth. If you study the life of the Apostle Paul he endured so much agony - he was stoned and left for dead, shipwreked, beaten, imprisoned, and he also had what he called a "thorn in the flesh" ... and yet he calls the sufferings that he endured, "Momentary" and "light". He kept his eyes on heaven and didn't let the physical and emotional sufferings of this world bring him down.
I certainly need to take a lesson from Paul! I have been discouraged lately because of suffering that is really not that big of a deal. I need to remmeber to keep my eyes on the greater life to come - and on the outcome from suffering - if I am willing to allow God to work through the pain in life.