What a beautiful passage of hope. This is one that we should read over and over again when we are feeling overwhelmed by our circumstances. What kind of faith do you have? Finish this sentence: “I believe in God, so I ______.” You may recognize that from our text today. Paul, like the psalmist believed in God so he “spoke.” When we put our faith and trust in God, we have so much more power to work with. I believe in God so I wrote a book would be one thing I could say.
We’re only given so much time on earth to do what we are called to do. This text calls it right out. Our bodies are dying. But we don’t need to live like we’re dying. Our spirits are being “renewed every day.” How do you refresh yourself? Spending time in God’s word, in prayer, and seeking his will for your life should give you plenty of refreshment. That’s why it’s so important to not just “go through the motions.” Don’t put spending time with God as just another “to-do list” item. Doesn’t God deserve your best?
So where does our hope come from? It comes from the Lord. Verse 17 says, “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!” Many people around the world are living through a pandemic situation that has closed down the world as we know it. People are not coping very well with this new reality. We all need to remember it is only for an instant, in the scheme of time. Are you looking for the silver lining? What about this “glory” that this crisis is going to produce?
I think of families who are quarantined in their homes. These are the same families who just a month or two ago were running from this activity to that activity, sitting in the drive-thru line to grab fast food because there was no time to cook. These were businessmen who were away from their families for days on end that when they did come home they were almost strangers in their own homes. Now, they are all together. Now, they are learning some new skills, Now, they are getting to know each other on a deeper level.
The opportunity for a beautiful gift is available if we allow ourselves to accept it. Many will miss this opportunity to see the potential to build something that will last forever. We should be asking, how do “we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen?” We trust Jesus. We look to the Almighty to give us wisdom, peace, humility, strength, courage, whatever it is that we need to get us through this time.
It doesn’t have to be a pandemic. It could be a lost job, the death of a loved one, a big test, something that is eating us up inside. It won’t last forever. You can be sure of that. God has your back. Nobody can take your faith away from you. That will last forever. Paul’s words are a comfort then no matter what you’re struggling with. “For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
Let’s pray … Lord, forgive me when I let panic and worry cloud my vision of you and your will for my life. Help me to trust you when it all seems dark and drear. You are forever. Your love for me is forever. Use me to encourage others in their faith, especially when times are hard. Give me the words. Thank you for Paul’s words of comfort. They are timely now and always. In Jesus’ name. Amen.