Light and Momentary Troubles

2 Corinthians 4:13-18
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
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.

My college campus minister would from time to time quote these verses to us, with a dramatic emphasis on "temporary!" and "eeeeterrrrnaaal." It was good for us to remember to discern between what was quickly fading (even if it didn't seem like it), and what was not.

In light of some of my own frustrations and struggles of late, let me recap that for myself: 

toddler
Dry-erase marker stockings...temporary! (sorta)
"I can't do this! You know I can't do this, and you don't listen, and you don't help me!"--my kid's attitude and sass...temporary!
homeschool
Frustration over penmanship, even if it's your favorite poem...temporary!
homeschool
And--pride at overcoming frustration to complete a task...also temporary!
"Mommy! I need help wiping!" --my kid's bathroom incompetence...temporary! (I hope)
toddler
Temporary!
"Mommy, Rosie's tearing up the plants!"...temporary! (Because eventually I will run out of plants)
toddler
Toddler gardening...temporary!

toddler
A marker smears with snot and tears...temporary!

toddler
What happened during the five minutes I foolishly attempted to read my boys a book; picky eaters; messy eaters; the 6-ring circus that is my daily life right now...temporary!

I was thinking about these verses recently because they are what came to mind when I asked God to help me. With everything. Parenting, homemaking, being part of the Body of Christ, and marriage mostly. Also exercise and good nutrition.  Because I don't feel like I have it in me to do these things, but it seems like they are mine to do anyway. I mentioned to someone I respect who has had a difficult season recently that "outwardly we are wasting away, but inwardly we are being renewed day by day." Their response was honest: "Are we?" 

Where am I supposed to get the strength? How am I supposed to persevere? How am I renewed?
"I lift my eyes up to the mountains; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and earth." (Psalm 121) 

Okay, but how do I get His help? How do I use it? What makes it real? 
Here is the beginning of a list. Feel free to add other ideas as a comment below; I've really just begun to compile things here. 
1) God's word frames reality and provides truth's perspective. It might go directly down into my heart on its own; or it might percolate and sink in better through some discussion with friends. 
  • Something I read recently; 
  • something I spent lots of time thinking about or memorized in the past;
  • something I heard in song lyrics that were lifted from scripture; 
  • something my friend reminds me of. 

2) I can be encouraged and empowered by the truth, rather than sucked down the chute of my (temporary, even if they are long-term) feelings. This makes a huge difference. Knowing that I am thinking wrongly about a situation gives me a choice to make, even if it takes a while to get there. 
3) Sometimes, God will change my circumstances to untie a knotted problem, remove the difficult thing from me or my loved one, or provide a solution to the dilemma. He has done this through: 
  • Friends offering to help
  • A kind word from a stranger
  • The missing thing reappearing

4) Sometimes, God sends encouragement in the form of: 
  • an easier day than normal, or than yesterday
  • a nice gesture from a kid, a spouse, a stranger
  • a nap

So let me grab hold of #1 here, which is that I'm being renewed day by day, and that what is eternal (my soul, my family's souls and those of others, what God's doing in the world) is what truly counts. Let me remember to fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary! but what is unseen is eeeeterrrnalll. And let me press on; persevere; and not lose heart

2 comments

  1. Two things come to mind from this old lady. 1. do not beat yourself up when you have to sit down and rest in your journey. Sometimes, that is what you have to do in order to receive the renewal of strength. 2. always remember that when you hand your troubles to the Lord, don't try to snatch them back. Lay them into his hands and let them lie there. Love you, dear, and you are a great mom!

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    1. Oh, I love it. Thank you. And thank you very much for the kind words!

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