II CORINTHIANS 4:18: “…Because we do not look for things that can be seen but for things that cannot be seen. For things that can be seen are temporary, but things that cannot be seen are eternal.” (ISV)
OBSERVATION: How do I view life? Am I “nearsighted” or “farsighted” in my outlook? In the physical realm, I am nearsighted. I can see things up close without my glasses, but I need my glasses to see things that are more than a few inches away from my line of sight. The irony of this is, much of my spiritual life has been characterized by being “nearhearted” too.
What is “nearhearted“? Well, ok – I just made up this word. However, I think it is a pretty good way to explain the struggle of faith many experience. If my faith is only as strong as the condition of the “moment” – I am “nearhearted”. If I cannot see beyond the immediate blessing, and if I lose heart whenever difficulty arises, or the answer is more than a few moments away, I am “nearhearted”. I believe this is what Paul was talking about in II Corinthians 4:18.
Paul had learned to develop a heart that looked beyond the immediate, and looked into the eternal. When he developed this heart of faith, it changed everything! Suddenly, he saw life the way God sees life. He received a glimpse into the eternal purposes of God, and so can we. This is why Paul could confidently say,
- “That’s why we are not discouraged. No, even if outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are being renewed each and every day. This light, temporary nature of our suffering is producing for us an everlasting weight of glory, far beyond any comparison,”. (II Corinthians 4:16-17 ISV)
You may read that, and feel – “Paul doesn’t know what I am going through!” Yet, if you read the trials and afflictions that Paul endured, I would suggest he truly does. When was the last time you were stoned and left for dead? When was the last time you were shipwrecked and floated to shore upon a piece of plank wood, only to be bitten by a poisonous snake as you warmed your hands over the fire? This is not to minimize what you or I may be going through, but there is one thing for certain – Paul understood suffering!
And here is the wonderful thing about suffering – it does not last!
When we put suffering into its proper perspective, its eternal perspective, everything becomes clear. When we run to the loving arms of our Heavenly Father, and when we hide ourselves in the cleft of His Rock (Jesus Christ), we find that our inward man is being renewed – even while the outward man is enduring the battle! And when compared with the weight of glory that the Lord has in store for us, the weight of our suffering is in reality – light! Again, this is why Paul could confidently proclaim,
- “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” ) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39 NLT)
Lord, heal my “nearheartedness” and give me eyes of faith to see beyond the immediate, and into the eternal. In the midst of my deepest struggles, do Your deepest and most profound inner working in my inner man. Help me to daily run into Your loving arms, and hide myself in the cleft of Your Rock, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Thank you for eyes to see You as you really are, and life through the eternal perspective of faith and Your Word!
In Jesus Name!