Look Past the Problem II Cor. 4:17-18 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When you face a problem, a trial, affliction or suffering, look past the problem; don’t look at it. We have said before, “Gaze at the Savior and glance at the problem.” But we must add that you can’t get stuck in the problem. You must look past the problem [Rom 8:18]. There is glory on the other side of the suffering.
Abraham looked past the trial – Gen 22 – when Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac he endured the temptation by looking past the problem to the promise of Gen 15:5-6. He knew that of the seed of Isaac his offspring would number as the stars of heaven. God was going to intervene somehow. Abraham expected a resurrection [Heb 11:17-19], though he had never seen one before. And Jesus said that Abraham had seen his day [Jn 8:56].
Joseph looked past the bondage – Gen 39 – when Joseph was sold into slavery and then was imprisoned under a false accusation, he didn’t despair. He looked past the problem knowing that God was going to do something to fulfill his dreams [Gen 37]. After 13 years of slavery and prison, God came through and Joseph’s dreams were fulfilled in a way that was beyond Joseph’s wildest imagination [Gen 42:6, 43:26, 44:14, 45:5]. He had no idea that he would be the second ruler in the country of Egypt; but he knew he wasn’t going to be stuck in prison.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego looked past the fiery furnace – Dan 3:15-18 – these three Hebrew children were not careful to answer Nebuchadnezzar’s threat because they knew God would eventually deliver them [Jer 29:10-14]. He might not save them from death in the flames, but he would surely deliver them from the king. They had no idea that they would be walking in the fire unharmed with Jesus [Dan 3:23-25]. You see, you must look beyond the problem and go through the suffering and affliction and while you are in it you will see the Lord or the Lord’s hand.
Jesus looked past the cross – Matt 26:39-44 – Gethsemane was grueling. Calvary was the worst thing that ever happened to any man. But Jesus knew there was a resurrection on the other side of the cross [Matt 16:21]. When he looked past the suffering of Calvary he saw “joy,” [Heb 12:2]. He couldn’t have seen it until he was in the crucible of that suffering. But rather that becoming consumed with the terrible suffering of the cross, he looked beyond it and saw the joy.
Conclusion: Paul looked beyond his departure and saw the crown of righteousness [2 Tim 4:6-8]. This is something he couldn’t have seen until he was in the affliction of his impending martyrdom. From that vantage point he saw the crown. And by looking past the problem, he got through the problem!! That’s exactly what you and I must do. We can’t fight against the problem or fight to get out of the suffering or affliction. We must look past the problem and see the glory on the other side. By this means we will get through the suffering.