The Weight of Troubles

One day while I was in the gym (this was around the year 1990, back in the good ol’ days when I was still strong and lifting weights) an acquaintance approached me and asked if I would give him a “spot” for his next set of squats. A spotter is the person who stands behind the person doing the squat exercise, like in the photo, and helps him stand up if he gets “stuck.” The guy who asked me to spot him happened to be a national weightlifting competitor. The amount of weight he had on the weightlifting bar was around 600 pounds, the same as the amount in the photo. I was a bit hesitant because I knew that if he got “stuck” I may not be able to help get him up with that much weight. Typically, for that much weight, you use at least 2 spotters. But, he said one spotter was enough because he could “handle” that weight. So, he went under the bar and raised it up from the weightlifting rack. HOWEVER, he had forgotten to put “safety clips” on both sides of the weightlifting bar, so there was just one side that had a clip. Clips keep the weights from slipping off of the ends of the weightlifting bar, especially when using heavy weights because the bar will bend downward. Well, as you can guess, when he took the weights off the rack, the bar bent and immediately the cast-iron weights on the side of the bar with no clip fell onto the floor like a striking explosion of sharp thunder! THEN, after one side of weights emptied onto the floor, the bar tipped to the other side, which had the clip on it, holding that one side of weights onto the bar. The end of the 45-lb steel bar (like the one on the photo) now emptied of its weights bounced around the metal weightlifting rack like a ping-pong ball, just missing our heads and bodies. The entire crowd of people in the gym turned around because the noise, and the impact, shook the entire building! After this crazy incident I returned, a bit stunned, to my workout. This guy put the weights back on the bar, this time with safety clips on both ends of the bar, and he approached me—again—asking me to spot him. I said NO WAY!

Lately (fall of 2017 through 2018), a certain verse in the Bible has been my anthem! It is 2 Corinthians 4:17, where Scripture says, “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” I began to memorize this verse and it has been running through my mind the past few weeks. The words in bold are what hit me the most. Notice the contrasting words “light” vs. “far outweighs.” Found in these contrasting words is a crucial life application for us as Christians! In this life all of us have experienced troubles! Such as the loss of a loved one, or a cancer diagnosis, or a major financial setback, or a seriously sick child, or an addiction, or pain from our past…and any, and every, other possible life issues that exist. Personally, the last year has been rough! My mom had a stroke, and a pastor helping in one of our international crusades was murdered for being involved in our crusade, and I reinjured a surgically repaired shoulder, along with other stuff. These circumstances, and “stuff,” along with many others, mysteriously triggered a deeper, and hopefully the deepest and final, layer of trauma I experienced from ongoing, life-threatening, childhood sexual abuse. The “ingredients,” and overall context, contained within the time period I was abused sent (and damaged and changed) my brain’s flight-fight-freeze “emergency” mechanism into Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), which is the severe form of PTSD. This happened so that when I was that 11-12 year old boy, I would survive what was happening to me. Now, decades later, I am still working through the trauma.

The “weighted” issues we face throughout our lives are real and important! Sometimes our life issues are extremely painful, and even life threatening. The Bible verse given above is not saying we should minimize our troubles, put on a fake smile, “suck it up,” and over-spiritualize the reality of our light and momentary life troubles. Scriptures are not to be used as a band-aid of denial to escape the reality of our troubles! Rather, to those of us who have accepted, and who are following, Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, this verse offers us very real and strong hope! Imagine this verse applying to us this way: the “weight” of losing a loved one to cancer, or of a hurricane taking our home, or of a troubled child, and anything else in life that hurts us and “weighs” us down, is equal to the amount of weight the man is weighed down with in the photo, around 600 pounds—an overwhelming amount of weight! Now, imagine our 600 pounds of “light and momentary troubles” are put on one side of a balance scale, and on the other side is placed a 600 million pound block of concrete. Our “light” 600 pounds is “far outweighed” by the 600 million pound concrete block. This is what life on earth vs. eternity is like! Our “light troubles” throughout our “momentary” earthly life that, on average, lasts 77 years, will “achieve” for us—in Christ—a level of glory, praise, power, love, and peace that will infinitely “outweigh” our earthly troubles in both quality and quantity! That word “achieve” means this in Greek: “work down to the end-point…to an exact, definite conclusion…bring to decisive finality…end-conclusion.” Simply put, the total weight of our pain during our Christian life—if we allow God to work in and through our pain according to His will—will be transformed into, and completed into, eternal glory, joy, peace, and rewards, that will be one million times “heavier” than the weight of our earthly pain! At some specific year, month, week, day, minute, and second in the future, our life on this earth will end. THEN…try and imagine one million, one billion, one trillion years, and then some, of millions of pounds of eternal life completely and totally overflowing our souls and spirits and eternal spiritual bodies with love, joy, and peace…to then share it all—forever—in eternal fellowship with Jesus, and our Christian family, and our Christian friends, and every other Christian who has ever lived! At that second, it will all be worth it!

Achieving eternal glory,

Scott Nute

Scott Nute June 26, 2018 Filed in Blog No Responses