If it feels to you like the world has gone mad, you’re not alone.
You could opine about the madness, as could I (and often we do). Let me instead offer here a word of hope.
Where can one find hope in this maddening world? Hear the words of the Apostle Paul to those living in a world every bit as crazy as ours.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 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.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Hope, the good Apostle tells us, is found for the follower of Jesus Christ in three great assurances of what is still going on, even in a world gone mad. So much has changed in the last six months, but these have not. These stand behind the testimony: “we do not lose heart.”
Assurance #1 – There is still an endless renewal in the midst of daily decay.
“Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (16)
It’s true, my body (“outer self”) and the world in which it exists is “wasting away.” Is there anything more demonstrably obvious than this?
Yet, if I will seek it, there is endless renewal in the midst of decline and death. It happens not on the level of the world, but in “our inner self.” As I purposely and intently bring my “inner self” into the presence of God, I am, mysteriously, “renewed.” And this “day by day”!
The renewal is life support. And I am hooked up “day by day” for there isn’t a moment I don’t need His life in my “inner self.”
Assurance #2 – There is still an eventual reward from the midst of a daily suffering.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” (17)
The weight of this world is not what it seems to be. It is but a “light and momentary affliction.”
While its weight is not what it seems to be, its purpose far exceeds anything we can imagine, for it “is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory.” The difference between what the present “affliction” feels like and what it actually achieves is “beyond comparison.” Exponentially disproportionate to the present pain are “the things that are unseen.”
That’s something to cling to even when the “affliction” won’t obey our orders.
Assurance #3 – There is still an eternal reality in the midst of daily routine.
“For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (18)
Things are not as they appear: what appears BIG is small and what seems small (or even non-existent) is BIG. The BIG things appear that way because they are up in our faces. Just as a hand held an inch from your nose blots out the sky, so small, present “things” block out bigger, “eternal” things.
Don’t let that happen.
Where is a body to find hope in these days? In an endless renewal pursued regularly and relentlessly. In an eventual reward that will be more than worth the wait and the weight of this present mess. In a present, but not-so-easy-to-see eternal reality, that is there, even if the present mess tries to blind us to it.
We’ve got to live here; but we can do so with the confidence of these hopeful assurances.