Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day, part 2

Good evening, Jesus Girls!

Sorry for the late post, but I have been running all day. For a girl who is presenting not gainfully employed, I sure have been busy. Lest you hear fussing in those words, let me just say that I love it! Idleness is indeed the devil’s workshop in my personal life.

Yesterday we began discussing 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. “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. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” We discussed verse 16, so let’s press on to verse 17.

Ok, now let’s be honest. How many of you read that verse, and thought, “Light and momentary troubles? Are you serious? Light for whom?” Before we get up on our high horse with the apostle Paul, let’s look back at verses 8 & 9. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Well, those things don’t seem “light or momentary” either, at least not until we begin to look at things from God’s perspective.

The word “light” used in this verse means “light in weight.” Keep that in mind as we continue to read the rest of verse 17. Our “troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs them all.” Paul is using a compare and contrast technique here to help us to understand that our trials have a purpose: to create in us a faith that is of greater worth than gold. (1 Peter 1:6&7) Glory is a that means “weightiness”, and gives the mental picture of a scale that is so heavy on one side that the other side cannot even come close. This glory, this weightiness of God, is so much more valuable, worth so much more, that even gold couldn’t come close it.

Verse 18 continues, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” This is a common theme for Paul to keep reminding us that what we see around us is not all there is. If fact, in light of eternity with Jesus, it isn’t even what is the important thing to be concerned about. Now before you think I have lost my mind altogether (cabin fever has been known to do that to a girl!), please know that I am not talking about ignoring your reality to live in la-la land. Our “light and momentary troubles” can steal our joy, our excitement, and our power if we don’t understand what Paul is trying to say.

Thing is, troubles come. And usually at the most inopportune times. Our days seem to be filled with children who need attitude adjustments, husbands who need clean laundry, bills that must be paid, checkbooks that are slim-pickins. Don’t deny these things, but don’t dwell on these things.

Do you want to know the secret weapon God has shown me through this trial at the Cotignola home? Praise and thanksgiving confuses the enemy half to death. And praise and thanksgiving are habits that can be learned, and can become as natural as breathing, no matter what our circumstance looks like.

See the beauty of God is that He never changes. Our circumstances change, but He never does. He is the “I AM”, the ever “ISING” one. Yes, I know that is horrible grammar, (sorry Mrs. Eisman), but it seems to fit better that when we say the One was, and is, and is to come. To me, that almost seems like we are saying He was one person is the past, He is another person now, and He will be someone else in the future. But truthfully, He just IS. Don’t try to wrap your head around it; just settle it in your heart. He IS. He is faithful, He is trustworthy, He is always there, He gets the real me. He Is.

So what do your light and momentary trials look like today? In spite of there appearance, can you thank Him for Who HE is: Creator, Protector, Healer, Restorer, Provider, Friend? When we do, He makes the trials that feel monumental to seem like they are truly light and momentary.

In pursuit of zoe,

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