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.2 Corinthians 4:16-18 The Message
Have you ever given up on something? Maybe something you thought you wanted? It could have been a New Year’s resolution or a college degree. Maybe a job or a relationship. I think we have all been there one way or another. But in our scripture, here is the apostle Paul telling the Corinthians, “So, we’re not giving up.”
Why does Paul say he and his Christian friends are not giving up? What are they not giving up? What are they sticking with when it looks like everything is falling apart?
In the verses preceeding 2 Corinthians 4:16, Paul reminds us that God raised Jesus up and we will also be raised and united with Christ. That was their “why.” They believed that Jesus’ words were true. That faith gave them hope for the future in spite of the troubles they were facing. They would continue sharing the gospel no matter what because they had a compelling reason… to share their hope in Christ.
It is so easy to see the “falling apart” in our circumstances. It is hard to envision a positive future when we fix our eyes on what we are facing. I think we all have a tendency to magnify our troubles because they are ours. However, Paul tells us that we are being renewed on the inside. God is infusing us daily with his grace through his Spirit. That gives us hope for the future!
A few years ago, I was anxious about visiting my parents and signing my mom up for Hospice. I think I was afraid of the grief I was holding inside. As I got into the car, I whispered a little prayer to God. I asked him to give me something to hold onto for the day. I was looking for hope amidst a grim reality. I turned on the radio as I left home, and this is what I heard… “The verse for the day is ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.’”
There was God’s promise for the future! My circumstances did not change, but my focus did. That verse from God’s Word carried me through the day and renewed me to look ahead with hope.
Thank you, God, for your Word, along with your Spirit, that infuses us with a renewed life. Thank you for Jesus and his sacrifice, that we may be united with you. That is our hope. Amen.
Judy Mikes lives in Goodyear, AZ
I am a retired school teacher. I enjoy writing, painting and Bible study. Often on the inside I feel like I am 10 years old, but my aging body has a bucket list that is in a colander!