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Temporary vs. Eternal

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.



 

"Light and momentary," that's not how I perceived the affliction facing my family. After having dropped a sheet of particle board on my left foot, smashing the toes on that foot, breaking my big toe, completely derailing my recent attempts to get back in the discipline of having a daily prayer/run, I wasn't thinking that I was experiencing a "light" problem.


Almost immediately after that incident, I woke up bright and early on a Sunday morning ready to conduct services (I start every Sunday at 4:30 AM) to feel my stomach trying to turn itself inside out; this would be my reality for three days, while I hobbled on a broken toe that looked like raw meat. Fortunately, I married an amazing woman who grabbed my sermon notes, preached, and saved the day. Still, I moped around a bit, this is not the way I wanted to spend a Sunday/first half of my week.


Almost immediately after my bout with a stomach bug my wife started to get sick, then she lost her sense of smell and taste, confirming what we had feared. We would be living with COVID-19 in our house for a while. I took care of her, kept our three kids separated from her, cooked, cleaned, sanitized everything. Her quarantine would last two weeks. Our girls, who are too young to be vaccinated yet, would have a three-week quarantine, and homeschooling. "Momentary" was not the word that I would have picked to describe the situation. It felt eternal. I felt like I was letting my church down by having to quarantine so long. I felt disconnected. I wasn't dealing well. Then I talked to a friend.


Praise God for healthy, perspective-giving mentors. My friend reassured me, prayed for me, and reminded me that it really was only a little time. I needed to hear that. I needed to remember what it is that really does last. The prayers that people were offering to God on behalf of my family are eternal. The love that was/is surrounding my family is unbreakable. The faith we have in Christ is abiding. The hope that I have in a life of discipleship, doing my best to follow the words and footsteps of Jesus is my rock. My rough time, although it isn't over, will be soon. My wife is fine. My children are healthy. The church I serve is thriving.


The problem that most of us have is that we focus on the issues in front of our faces, what is seen. We have work troubles, bills to pay, health scares. All of these things will go away. Most of them when we look back at them in a year's time won't seem that significant. However, the things that are unseen, the prayers, the love, the shared faith, the path of discipleship that we walk together are the things that will last, always.


Should you find yourself in light and momentary affliction. Remember, it will pass. It's preparing you, teaching you to focus on what's important, and lasting. Knowing that you'll be able to walk a bit further down the road. I'm praying for you. God loves you.

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