Question: "How can we as believers not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16)?"
Answer: There are many things that make us weary on this earth. As a result of sin, we experience trials and hardships that make life difficult. At the same time, Christians have assurance that our difficulties are merely “momentary, light affliction” in light of eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17, NASB). The hope of the believer allows him to persevere and not lose heart even when life is difficult.
Christians face hardships just like everyone else. We can become discouraged and wounded when we experience difficulties. Yet believers have hope that surpasses the temporary hurts we endure. When difficulties come, believers do not need to despair. Our hope in God anchors our souls as we experience life’s ups and downs (Hebrews 6:19). Believers do not lose heart because the resurrection and the “eternal glory” we anticipate far outweigh anything we experience in our afflictions (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, we are forgiven of our sin and reconciled to God. We have assurance that sin and death are defeated. One day we, too, will be resurrected and spend eternity with God, without sin and death. Although in this life “we are hard pressed on every side,” we are not crushed. Although we are “perplexed,” we are not in despair. We may be “persecuted,” but we are not abandoned. We are “struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9). Yes, we experience life’s difficulties, but we are also filled with hope through these difficulties. The salvation of our souls and the hope of eternal life with God allows us to press on and to not lose heart despite life’s circumstances.
Paul was imprisoned, beaten, and whipped for sharing the good news of the gospel. He was shipwrecked and experienced danger at sea and from bandits, fellow Jews, Gentiles, and false believers. He was at times hungry, thirsty, cold, and deprived (2 Corinthians 11:24–27). Yet Paul determined not to lose heart. He would not allow his difficulties to leave him in despair. With hope in Christ, Paul was able to proclaim, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Paul continued to preach the gospel with fervency despite all the difficulties and suffering he faced.
Jesus told us that a life of following Him would be hard, but He also comforted us with hope: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Believers do not lose heart because their hope in Christ is greater than any difficulty they will face on this earth.