This post is part of my series for Write 31 Days (writing on a prompt every day during the month of October). I may not be posting on the blog every day, but you can find an index page where all the posts in the series will be added here. The prompt today is “temporary.”
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT)
Often our present troubles don’t feel very small, and they don’t seem temporary.
I think of people I know who are struggling right now. To me, looking on, some of those struggles seem relatively small – the type that are likely to be forgotten about in a few weeks’ time – but others are obviously large and their impact will be long-term. And even objectively “small” troubles can feel all-consuming when you’re going through them.
Here, Paul invites us to lift our eyes.
He reminds us that in the context of eternity, even the most painful, most enduring trials are short-lived, and he encourages us to fix our eyes on that truth.
Paul knew a bit about suffering. In 2 Corinthians 11, he writes about it – several whippings and beatings, three shipwrecks, hunger, thirst, long journeys, sleepless nights, attacks by robbers, and even threats of death!
It doesn’t exactly sound like his troubles were small!
And yet, to him, they were, compared with the hope of eternity. What’s more, he considers them worth it if they bring glory to Jesus!
I can learn a lot from Paul’s perspective. I may not have been beaten or shipwrecked, but I have faced other troubles. All of us have. And at times it can be hard to see past our struggles.
But when we do, it brings us hope. It encourages us to seek God’s glory, even in our hard times, and it reminds us that no matter what we face it is temporary and it is nothing compared with all that awaits us in eternity.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:3-4 NLT)