How can we have a right perspective on the struggles and trials of life?
Paul, in thoughts that continue from our passage yesterday, acknowledges our present experience while pointing forward with hope to what is ahead.
Our fragile and fading bodies (which Paul earlier called “jars of clay”) are wasting away: that’s true. But, writes Paul, because of the life-giving presence of the Spirit in our lives, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. We do experience suffering and troubles: that’s true. But, because of Jesus, God has promises us a wonderful future that “outweighs them all”. There is so much around us that we struggle to make sense of, so much that presses itself upon us. So much of what we see around us seems overwhelming looming and large, that’s true. But, says Paul, we are to fix our eyes on what is unseen – God and his work in our lives and in the world. It is the unseen spiritual realities, Paul reminds us, that will last forever.
So we acknowledge the reality of our circumstances, we don’t deny them. But, because of Jesus, we are able to take a very different view on them.
And the result of all of this, the outcome of such a way of living and thinking. Well, says Paul, it means that when all seems lost, we still hope: “we do not lose heart”.
May the Lord encourage us today, whatever our circumstances: Though we might feel we are fading fast, the truth is, in Christ, we are being renewed day by day. Though we are passing through times of trouble, these will have an end, but what is promised to us in Christ will last forever. What we see in our circumstances may seem to dominate every aspect of our horizon, but in the end, it is God’s presence and his purposes that define our lives.