“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.” (Isaiah 54:7-8)
This gracious promise to Israel gives a beautiful insight into both God’s character and the relation of time to eternity. God can be a God of wrath, for He must punish unforsaken sin in His people, but He is much more the God of mercy. His prolonged judgment on His chosen people of Israel is only “for a small moment” compared to His “everlasting kindness” toward redeemed Israel in the ages to come.
This theme occurs a number of times in Scripture. “For his anger endureth but a moment,” said David, “in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). To the people faithful to God during a time of judgment against their nation or against the world, God says: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers . . . hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast” (Isaiah 26:20).
Thus, a time of testing or judgment may extend over many days, or years, or even centuries, but this is only a moment in relation to the endless ages of blessing yet to come.
As applied to Christians, this concept is stated explicitly in the only occurrence of the Greek parakutika (“moment”) in the New Testament. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. . . . They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 65:17, 25). May God give us eyes of faith to see these “moments” of God in their eternal setting. HMM