A friend’s mom just found out her cancer returned and has spread and it does not look good for her. One of our study group members is their neighbor and decided to have a service for her. She asked me to speak. What do you speak on in a moment like this? I cannot pretend to understand what they are going through. In a quick search I found out that it seemed like Paul knew what to say, as he wrote the perfect passage in 2 Corinthians 4.
I started the message in verse 16:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not see. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
There is a costly gift in experiencing this seemingly hopeless situation. The recognition that our living reality should be in light of eternity. We easily wrap ourselves up in our earthly life and lose perspective on our eternal life. Our constant longing and hope should be eternal life in Christ so that the weights of this world do not boggle us down. Lately I have worried myself with tasks that need no worrying to accomplish them. This week in a Bible study my daughter’s prayer request was that her parents would not be so stressed out. ha. Thanks baby girl. It was only slightly embarrassing as I have already come to the conclusion that the list is long of my deficiencies, but it did provide some reflection as to my mindset.
The eternal is much more important than our earthly light afflictions. Verse 16 had started with the word therefore and so we look at the context above to show us why we can have this eternal mindset that does not let us lose heart. Paul emphasizes the gospel in the whole chapter. We do not handle the word of God deceitfully, we know that Satan blinds the minds of those who do not believe, and we do not preach ourselves. We are not the answers. In moments like this, my lack of words makes this entirely obvious as I do not have a clue what to say. But the gospel shines in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We have a treasure knowing that the power does not come from us, but from God.
For these reasons we can suffer but not break down. We have hope in Christ that stems from the resurrection. Just as Christ raised from the dead, so those who believe in Him will also raise. This hope sustains us! This grace sustains us to the glory of God! So remember when suffering through the reality of everyone’s mortality that it does not matter! To be absent on earth is to be present with the Lord for those who believe! And let these moments remind us that we are to always live in view of eternity, as a friend used for his ALIVE ministry slogan.