“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 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” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18).
Paul is telling us, “Get your eyes off your troubles. Don’t focus on the things that are coming upon the earth because they are all going to pass away. Your problems mean nothing in light of the eternal glory awaiting the people of God. After one moment in paradise with Him you won’t remember any of it!”
It is written of Christ, “For the joy that was set before him [He] endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus Himself said, “When you see these things coming, look up and rejoice! It all means your day of redemption is at hand” (see Luke 21:28).
According to Paul, when darkness and uncertainty are closing in, God commands a marvelous light to shine in our hearts.
Paul is speaking here of a glorious manifestation of the knowledge of the glory of Christ that comes to us in our trials:
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Paul is describing nothing less than a fresh revelation of the glory of God in the person of Christ.
When Paul received this revelation, he was in prison and penniless. Even though he subsisted on lowly prison food, he was made alive by the fresh revelation of the glory of Christ he received daily.