“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! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” – 2 Cor. 4:16-18 (NLT)
The Apostle Paul knows all about “troubles”, doesn’t he? Not much money, lonely, betrayed, shipwrecked, beaten, jailed, hungry and tired. This was Paul’s pay for spreading the gospel of Christ. And yet he calls his troubles “small”.
Paul had resolve! He knew what the end goal was. His eyes were on heaven and eternity with Jesus, not this world and eventually hell. He was not living for today, he was living for eternity.
In a few verses before this he says, “we are perplexed but not in despair.” Perplexed means to be baffled or puzzled. Sometimes things happening in our lives are puzzling to us and we are baffled. Many times though we just read up to that point and forget to read the part of the verse that says, “not in despair.” If anyone should have been hopeless, it would be Paul. But he was not! His gaze is was on Christ!
As American’s, we get “hopeless” if we cannot afford a Starbucks today. We get hopeless if we cannot go out to eat and actually have to cook at home. We get hopeless because we have a 5 year old car and cannot buy the latest and greatest.
I do not mean to minimize the pain and loneliness we feel sometimes in our lives. It is real and we do get perplexed about our lives. Yet as Christ followers, we must set our gaze on Jesus. We must set aside the physical and temporal for the spiritual and eternal. We must not look for the explanations but live on the promises. We must store our treasures in heaven and keep our eyes on the prize! Praying today that Jesus is still your only hope and the only one you focus on and need.