Death and destruction are unnatural, a violation, a gash torn into the fabric of God’s beautiful creation. We are designed for grandeur, harmony, and eternity. This world is not our home.
We live in a fallen creation in perishable bodies, fragile pieces of pottery that shatter into shards in the dust. We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience, C.S. Lewis said. We don’t belong here.
We cannot keep our loved ones safe. We cannot prevent random acts of carelessness or violence. We are in control of nothing. Most days I wake with the terror of these facts pressing down upon me.
These afflictions are momentary, and they are light. No matter what happens, this is true. They are light, because they are preparing for us an eternal heavy weight of glory beyond anything we can imagine. They are momentary, because our lives are fleeting.
God’s light shines into our darkness, enlightening our hearts and giving us “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6b ESV). We behold his face. He is ours. We have placed our faith in him. He has sealed us with his Holy Spirit, indwelling us with his presence.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11 NIV).
Our spirits need this lesson. We are arrogant little creatures. We think we are strong and wise. Life quickly humbles us as we approach our inevitable demise. Our bodies age and fall apart. Tragedies befall us. Then we recognize our daily need for God’s empowerment. When we turn to him, his life is revealed within, strengthening and uplifting us.
Because we know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, will do the same for us, we don’t give way to despair. This decaying life is not the end. Though everything around us falls apart and makes no sense, we have him.
“So we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV).
We need daily renewal, because we are fragile and this world is tragic. We can’t coast through today on yesterday’s encouragement or last week’s sermon. The power of the Lord is a daily requirement.
He wants us to be this intimately attached to him, moment by moment, day by day. Spiritual beings in a fallen creation cannot live otherwise. The unseen spiritual realities are our source of eternal help. On the Savior, his presence, and his promises, we fix our hope.
He promises to take these “light and momentary” troubles and shape them into a glorious future we cannot even imagine, forming them specifically according to what we have suffered individually and how we have learned to hold onto him.
Hold tight! It will be worth it!
How do you daily grab hold of the Savior?
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