A friend mentioned that the sermon in her church today was based on 2 Corinthians 4 and so I went to read that chapter. I particularly like what Paul spoke in verses 16 through 18. Those verses remind me that my stay here is temporary (as is yours) and that regardless of whatever befalls me (and you) betwixt now and the moment of my (and your) death, it is but light affliction when we consider it in relation to the eternal life that God gives us through Christ. I will say it again....it is light affliction with emphasis on the "light". Let's read those verses...
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Paul says something similar in Romans 8:18. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.
Paul certainly did experience suffering. Because he was preaching the gospel he was beaten, stoned, and imprisoned. 2 Cor. 11:25. So when he speaks of suffering he speaks from experience and yet in spite of the suffering he spoke from joy. And while our suffering may not be from beatings or stonings or imprisonment (although there are those who experience these for the cause of Christ) we must recognize that our particular suffering stands alongside Paul's sufferings. Through it all we recognize, as Paul did, that God is sovereign over all and that He works in all our circumstances to bring us good.
It is good, in the midst of suffering, to bow down to our Lord and to experience the joy of knowing the depph of His love for us. We can rest in that.