"For our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory;" (ASV)
When they hear this passage, most people dismiss it by saying that whatever problem it is they are facing is not a "light affliction". They forget that Paul is speaking here from an eternal viewpoint. When you look at things from the perspective of eternity, even the most horrible circumstances seem like light afflictions.
Horrible things happen in this world. People suffer from cancer and debilitating diseases. Children suffer from abuse. Nations are ruled by brutal dictators. Wars take our young men and women in the prime of their lives. We lose students to classroom violence. Natural disasters decimate entire regions. It's easy to lose hope in the face of so much death and pain.
Paul reminds us though that the pain and fear that is ever-present in this world is only here for a moment. When we reach heaven and stand in the presence of God, we will be freed from anguish, from heartache, from terror. When you compare the time we spend on earth to the eternity we will spend with our Father in heaven, it's like the blink of an eye.
The pain we endure here can't compare with the glory of heaven either. Even the most difficult, most horrifying afflictions we can think of can't compare to 1/100th of the joy we will one day experience. We can't even begin to imagine the overwhelming goodness we will encounter on the day we are called home with all of God's children.
So the next time you begin to lose hope, the next time your joy starts to fade and the world seems too much to bear, remember Paul's words. Look at the situation from the perspective of one who is assured an eternity of joy and peace in heaven, and remember that your current suffering is momentary.