“This is why we do not lose courage. Though our outer self is heading for decay, our inner self is being renewed daily. For our light and transient troubles are achieving for us an everlasting glory whose weight is beyond description. We concentrate not on what is seen but on what is not seen, since things seen are temporary, but things not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) CJB
Oliver Cooper wrote a song in 1943 entitled, “Looking for a City”. Its lyrics proclaimed it was a city where we would never die. We would be seated with the sainted millions and never say goodbye.
From the first day of my salvation until the present this has been my desire. Not mine only but many wayfaring strangers passing through this land of woe. Abraham, our father in the faith, looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker was God. The Apostle Paul’s chief desire was to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
The mindset of the believer should be otherworldly. It is a subtle temptation to allow the struggles of each day to dominate our attention. To be strong in Christ we must gain control over our thought life. Paul viewed all of his troubles as subject to change. He knew today’s worries would steal tomorrow’s joys. He deemed even the severest of trials as light afflictions.
The earthly minded man lives in despair. He sees each difficulty as something that will last forever. If we study God’s word, we will understand there is nothing beyond the possibility of Him who created all things by Himself and for Himself. Scripture teaches us what we can see is only temporary and subject to change while what we do not see with the visible eye will last forever.
What is it that we do not see? The city of God, the sainted millions, the innumerable company of angels around God’s throne. We do not see the multitudes of warring angels working to secure our well-being and their willingness to help us in time of need. Most of all, we have never seen Christ in all of His splendor.
These are the things we should consider when we find ourselves overcome with the cares of each day. Our light affliction lasts for only a moment in comparison to eternity. By nature, we will always gaze upon that which captivates our soul. If worldly, fleshly desires creep into our spirit, they will obscure our vision from the reality of Christ.
Keeping our minds fixed on Jesus and the invisible elements of eternity is the best way to live in a visible world.
“Glory follows afflictions, not as the day follows the night but as the Spring follows the Winter; for the winter prepares the earth for the spring, so does sanctified afflictions prepare the soul for Glory.” — Richard Sibbes
Sue West can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org