[This post is part of the Weekend Word devotional series. Come back every Saturday for a devotional to refresh you over the weekend.]
Today’s Scripture: “16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV)
I stooped down by the edge of the river. While on my walks, I often pause by this spot to reflect on how far God has brought me over the last year.
I had stopped by this part of the river a year prior to splash water on my face after a particularly tough day. I was distressed. Without going into details, I felt my world had crashed down on me that day.
At the time, I didn’t realize it would be a catalyst for great things to come.
Coming back to the present, I picked up a rock I saw glittering in the river bed. I turned it around in my hand. From some angles, it looked dull and uninteresting. Yet when light reflected off of it, it glimmered. Depending on my perspective, the rock was either ugly or beautiful.
I kept the rock as a memento.
Second Corinthians chapter 4 is all about perspective. Paul knew that he and the other believers would see their fair share of struggles. To describe what they were going through, he uses words like “hard pressed,” perplexed,” “persecuted,” and “struck down.” However, he follows each word with a surprising perspective on the matter. They were “not crushed,” “not in despair,” “not abandoned,” and “not destroyed.” He calls these troubles “light and momentary,” knowing there would one day be a reward that was far beyond anything they can imagine.
I knew I could either see that difficult day a year ago as a defeat or as a victory. It could either be the day my world fell apart or the day God began something new in me.
It takes faith to look at our sufferings and see them from the perspective that they are part of something greater that God is doing. Our first instinct is to see our trials as hindrances. If we only focus on what can be seen, we’ll see only the bad that happened.
The good that can come out of difficult circumstances is not always immediately apparent — these are the “unseen” things. If we remember that “all things work together for the good of those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28), we can continue forward in victory knowing God is going to bring about something incredible from our trials. This is why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:18: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
It may seem like situations in your life are falling apart. It’s okay to feel hurt or sad; doing so is necessary to process the event sometimes. Just don’t let yourself be defeated. It may take time and a change in perspective to see the good God is going to bring out of your circumstances.
Today’s Thought: Could you benefit from changing your perspective on an event in your life? What would happen if you did? Was there an event you experienced that seemed like a defeat at first, yet later turned into a victory? How does that affect your faith in God?