“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
It’s so easy to look at the circumstances right in front of us and then live accordingly. For me it so often seems like the only thing I see is the situation right before my eyes.
My husband and I have recently decided to sell our house. We believe the Lord is asking us to sell what we thought would be our “forever” home. We’re very excited but this particular circumstance has left my emotions and actions bouncing all over the place. One minute I’m excited and hopeful, one minute I’m discouraged, as there haven’t been showings in a while. The next moment I’m scared that the house we have under contract will be snagged up and then where will we go. On another day I am annoyed that I have to get my house spotless again for another showing. I could go on, but I am sure you get the point. Looking at all the circumstances involved in selling our home, wondering what comes next and hoping for a certain outcome, have so easily distracted me from the reality that God asked us to do this. The immediate call of the circumstance can so easily distract me from the Lord.
When I feel like I’m in a temporary situation such as living in a temporary home, as this no longer feels like our home since we’re anticipating another, my mind drifts in general (as you see from my many fleeting emotions above). Sometimes when I have ended the day not even knowing what occurred, I begin to feel apathetic and frankly just lazy. This effects even small things in my home. For example, not switching my kiddos’ clothes for the next season or not cleaning out the disgusting pantry. I know these things seem small, but I’m learning that the Lord can give me views into the state of my heart before Him, when I see how life is being lived before me. I think becoming apathetic to the tasks the Lord has laid before me on a daily basis is a sin, it’s not me walking in a manner worthy of the Lord. It is not me seeking to glorify His name. It’s really only to serve the last ounce of comfort and control I can muster since everything else is “outside” it right now.
The Lord reminded me through this passage in 2 Corinthians that we are always in a temporary position here on this earth. I love the way Paul begins these few verses with “so we do not lose heart.” Whatever your circumstance may be right now, Paul is reminding us that it’s temporary! We do not have to lose heart. I’m encouraged because even in something so seemingly small as a nasty pantry God can use to draw us nearer to Him and to point to truth that it is Him alone we rejoice in, not the circumstance, not the outcome of a situation, but HIM! “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;” (Philippians 4:4-5).
The other night as we were putting our boys to bed we read from their children’s devotional about one of the names of God being “the LORD is there.” The story was about Jacob and His dream of God in Genesis 28. Jacob wakes from his dream and he says, “Surely the LORD is in this place and I did not know it” Genesis 28:16). The Lord, our eternal dwelling, is with us. At first it may seem like our circumstance is the only thing before our eyes, but the Lord is challenging me all the more lately that He is with me, He is with us and it is Him that our eyes can be on every moment, “but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 3: 18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
I feel like the older I get the more aware I become of the brokenness of this world. Life is truly hard. I see the brokenness with the news notifications popping up almost daily of some shooting that has happened in our country. I see the brokenness in our bodies as I watch a best friend struggle with infertility, another having a miscarriage, another struggling after her husband was laid off, another who can’t pay her bills and feed her four young children. And I see my own brokenness in my impatience towards my children, my apathy towards the Lord in the gifts of grace He has provided in a home, etc. etc. (I could fill up pages of my own sin). Life as we know it now is not what it was meant to be and we feel it and see it all the time. Right after Paul’s encouragement in 2 Corinthians 4, he continues in chapter 5,
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened….So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-4a, 6-9).
We groan and we are burdened, but this world is temporary, so we do not lose heart. May we earnestly seek the Lord who is eternal and ask for His grace to make it our aim to please Him. Be encouraged, dear friend, the Lord’s steadfast love ENDURES forever, may He give us the grace to endure with Him till the end when He will make all things new. And until then, may we REJOICE!
Planted for His Glory