II Corinthians 5-8: Do Not Lose Heart

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.

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.

II Cor. 4:16-5:1, ESV

 

At 60, I can more and more understand Paul's inspired writings concerning the "wasting away" that we all eventually will experience should we be blessed to live long enough. And while I do not consider myself to be quite that old yet, I do see signs that my body is physically beginning to slow down a bit. Indeed, that "slowing" seems to be gaining speed as each day goes by.

 

There are other "light and momentary afflictions" that I have observed. Perhaps it is my age, but this world seems to be getting more and more out of control. I see evil men and women struggling for power, and committing some of the worst crimes against humanity that have been seen for many a year in order to gain that power. I see people from one side of the world doing mischief on the other side, just to gain money. I see our youth becoming less and less respectful of those around them, perhaps as a direct result of the previously mentioned power and money hungry. All in all, it has led to a less safe and far less pleasant life than men could enjoy if they would just seek to help others, rather than try to get what they can.

 

So, whether from personal struggles or those difficulties being commonly shared by all men everywhere, there does seem to be a fair amount of "light and momentary afflictions" going on today that Paul experienced during his time some 2,000 years in the past. If one is not careful, he can get caught up in all of these trials and become discouraged.

 

That is precisely where Paul's encouragement to not lose heart comes in. We are here only for a brief moment, and then we are gone. Whether we are blessed to live many years, or whether we are blessed with a time of fewer struggles, there is an expiration date for us all. The wise man will realize that we were not made, at least not primarily, for this brief time of testing here on earth.

 

For we are created by God to live eternally.

 

That being the case, wouldn't it behoove us all if we spent a little less time focusing on our light and momentary troubles, and a little more time contemplating those things that are eternal? For it is true that one day, maybe a day much sooner than we expect, that we will be called to our eternal home, complete with a body that will not wear out. And then we can get on with the life that God has called us to... if we can only take our eyes off of the temporary, and place our eyes and our hopes on the eternal. It is for truths such as we read from the passage above that we can gain this hope and this confidence.

 

The reading for the next few days is from II Corinthians 5-8. They will help us all to realize that our troubles, no matter how seemingly big at this time, really are light and momentary, and will pass away before we know it.