While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Cor.4:18)
So there it is. You’re faced with what looks like an impossible situation. There is no way around it. No need to downplay it. The situation is bad. It is a bonafide crisis. It feels as if things couldn’t get any worse. The more you think about it, the more it brings you down; and you can’t help but see it, because it just won’t go away.
Whether you’re seeing what looks like insurmountable circumstances, an onslaught of too many bills and not enough money, or just dealing with unsaved loved ones, there is a greatly overlooked principle in scripture, that if gotten hold of and applied by faith, will bring peace and a great measure of relief from whatever it is that you just can’t seem to get around.
The apostle Paul held no punches when it came to speaking about the things he had suffered for the name of Christ. He was never ashamed about it and did not become bitter concerning his trials. Rather, he considered himself blessed and humbled that Christ would use him the way He did.
What were some of the things Paul suffered while laboring for the advancement of the gospel? Let’s take a look at 2 Cor.11:23-27: Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Did you get all of that? This man was beaten eight times, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked three times, and it goes on and on. How was your day? The things this man endured were unparalleled when compared to others, and yet for all of this and more, this is what he had to say: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (2Cor.4:17). Light affliction? Really? Is that what he calls it? You see, Paul knew that nothing is as bad as it could be, because he knew he was in God’s plan and in God’s hand. He’s saying that hard times won’t last forever and that they are producing in us something greater than what we can comprehend. How was he able to see everything in the light of eternity? Paul had mastered the art of sight. He was able to see the things he couldn’t and not see the things he could. Yes, you read that right. An art is defined as ‘a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice’. Paul had learned through repeated trials and testings, not to see the difficulties before him. He did not ignore them or keep his head in the clouds as if they did not exist. He simply did not allow the things he saw to remove his vision from that which was greater. Look at what he said: While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: Paul surmised that what he could see was only temporary, and he would not be deterred by them. The things which were not tangible, but real nonetheless, were the things he chose, and needed to focus on. Things like God’s grace, mercy and power. We cannot put our hands on these things, but by faith we grasp them and do not let them out of our sight.
The art of sight. Have you mastered it? Have I? At the time he wrote 2 Corinthians, Paul had been in ministry for over thirty years. For him, it had been a nearly life long process. I cannot imagine it would be any different for us. As we go through difficult times, our prayer should be, ‘Lord, strengthen me to keep my eyes on you.’
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace!
That’s The Word! Take it with you. God bless you.