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Posts Tagged ‘2 Corinthians 4:18’

Jo 17It’s so easy to become consumed with all the things happening in our lives from week to week, isn’t it? Sometimes, we may feel we are only just managing to stay afloat in our own particular fast-flowing, almost overwhelming river of demands and commitments and responsibilities. No wonder then that, in the midst of it all, we so often lose sight of that bigger picture.

Recently, my husband conducted a funeral, during which he reminded us that our life here on earth, when compared with eternity, is like the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface of the water, there is so much more. Then he used a second analogy of the distance covered in a long, overseas trip, as opposed to merely the first centimetre of that trip—and this resonated with me even more. After all, I have gone on quite a few long, overseas trips and can well remember my last flight home from Turkey—a distance of around fifteen thousand kilometres. So what is one centimetre when compared with that? Nothing really. Yet that is how long our life on earth is when compared with eternity.

Perhaps that sort of finite analogy is as close as we will get to understanding the vast difference between the life span we have here on earth and eternity. It’s so hard to imagine something that goes on forever, isn’t it? But whether we can get our heads around it or not, it’s vital we remember eternity—and God—do exist.

The bottom line I need to remind myself about constantly is that nothing I have or am experiencing in this world lasts forever. That applies equally to the people and things that bring me happiness and fulfilment as well as to those situations that cause me pain and difficulty. At times, I know I am in danger of forgetting about God, as I love and care for those close to me. Of course it’s important to love and care for them well. But one day, I won’t be here—and neither will they. At times too, I have put such store by the books I have written and continue to write, that I forget all those words I produce are so temporal. Hopefully, what I write says something of value to others and delights God in the process. But one day, those books will be forgotten, even by those who enjoyed them. Already, many are no doubt hidden away on some dusty shelf or residing in an op shop or perhaps gone long ago into the recycling bin!

As for those difficult things in our lives, how wonderful to remember they too will not last forever! One day, we will have new heavenly bodies, with no sickness or malfunctions. One day we will be whole in every way. One day, ‘God will wipe away every tear from our eyes’ (Revelation 7:17).

Whatever is happening in your life right now, whether joyous or challenging or a mixture of both, can I encourage you to remember the bigger picture and keep the same perspective as Paul and his fellow-workers did?

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:18

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p1040398I stood at our kitchen bench with our oldest granddaughter. She had come to spend the day with us and wanted to make herself useful, cooking Christmas treats and wrapping Christmas gifts for our family.

‘We could make these Peppermint Creams,’ I told her, as I opened a plastic covered spring binder containing recipes for various sweet treats. Then I noticed most were written in my mother’s rounded handwriting—she had faithfully copied out her favourite recipes for me when I was married almost forty-eight years ago!

‘Or perhaps we could make these again,’ I then suggested, as I pointed to a recipe for Gingerbread Men in an old,  spiral-bound book I own, with its front cover almost torn off. As I did, I realised exactly how old this particular book was too—it was produced by the Nursing Mothers’ Association of Australia in 1975!

‘Or for a “no-bake” recipe, we could use this one,’ I added, digging out some neatly printed instructions for a yummy chocolate hazelnut slice. At least this recipe was roughly from my granddaughter’s vintage, as it had been emailed to me by a young friend only in the past couple of years.

In the end, our granddaughter opted for creating our chubby gingerbread men once again, so we set to work. Yet, all the while, my head was spinning. Surely it could not be forty-eight years ago that I was given those recipe books? How had all that time passed? And surely this beautiful granddaughter of mine working so deftly beside me could not be thirteen, going on fourteen? On top of that, surely it had not been a whole year since we last stood beside each other, baking a batch of tubby little gingerbread men?

It can be scary, can’t it, the way the years fly by? In no time at all, we realise we are at a different stage of our lives and the past has become just that. Our priorities change—who knows whether, by next Christmas, our granddaughter might feel a little less inclined to spend a whole day baking and wrapping presents with her grandmother?

In James 4:14, our lives are starkly described as ‘a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes’. As I reflected on our granddaughter’s visit, I realised all over again the truth of these words. Then the next day, I read the following from 2 Corinthians 4:18: 

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Yes, so many things we think are important in this life will not always be with us. Soon those old recipe books of mine will have fallen apart completely. Even now, our children and grandchildren have trouble reading my mother’s handwriting and understanding what some of the more old-fashioned terms mean. Soon all those Christmas presents our granddaughter wrapped so carefully may well have been forgotten or may no longer be needed. And even sooner, all those little gingerbread men we baked will have disappeared forever.

By all means, let’s enjoy the wonderful temporary things around us, especially at Christmas. But let’s not forget that unseen, eternal dimension either—because, after all, that’s what Christmas really is about.

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