2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (the message)
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
Yesterday I had a conversation with a very special woman I have been blessed to know over the last year and a half. She was exuberant as she told me how God has been working in her life. “I can’t stop talking about it!” she said more than once. We talked about how life changes when what you know of God comes out of the Sunday morning church box and begins to invade your everyday life. We talked about crossing the line…becoming hungry for God and willing to follow Him and do what He asks. The very idea holds most of us back in life until we discover the overwhelming fulfillment in going for it.
What has happened to this lovely woman with the big heart is a shift in what she sees. As the scripture above declares, “there’s far more here than meets the eye.” My friend (old enough to be my mom?) has come crashing into the presence and Spirit of God in a brand new way. She’s had a hard time over the past year or so…lost her job, struggled with wounds of her past, faced legal matters. And yet even in her most discouraged moments, she did not give up! There were certainly moments when all she could see was the hardship around her, things “falling apart” as the verses above describe, and yet all the while God was preparing her for new life. He was making more room for Himself. Not a day was going to go by without His “unfolding grace.” She experienced His provision because of the need. She learned more of His soothing presence because of her pain. She has discovered the intimate realities and truth of who God is in her life. Now she’s singing like the birds outside who declare spring has come!
What do you see? Are you consumed with hardship? Do things seem to be falling apart all around you? Maybe your plans are not adding up to be all you hoped for. Maybe you feel rejected, discouraged…maybe you feel like giving up. I encourage you to consider the scripture above…”Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.” The question is what’s on the inside? If you draw only upon your own inner strength, hopes, will-power or plans in the end your vision will become myopic. All you will see is the hardship two feet ahead. But if you let God inside, truly let Him invade your circumstances, your heart, your choices, you will gain a new perspective. You will then be filled with a strength that is His. Realizing, amidst the hardship,that what you see is temporary. It won’t last. Seasons change. And what is unseen but absolutely evident…His majesty…His power…His unfolding grace…will last forever. You can cross the line just like my friend. You can let God out of the Sunday box and into your everyday life. Let Jesus inside your heart.
No matter the season…valley lows or mountain peaks…Greater is He that is Inside you than He that is in the world! But first we must invite Him to come in…to really take up residence…to influence us, fill us, lead us. When we do that, we can be assured no matter what storms come, we have an anchor to steady us. No matter the pain or uncertainty, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.
Can you see it?