Focus on Things Unseen
Seems to me that one of the more difficult things in parenting is trying to teach our children about something they’ve never seen or experienced before. It could be how to do something new or maybe getting them to understand that other people’s lives are different from ours. For example, the other night, our youngest, Ellie, was surprised to hear that some kids in school here don’t know very much English, that they have to learn the language at the same time they’re learning their school subjects and how to make friends. She was struck by how difficult that must be for them. Of course, isn’t this why we try to expose our children to new people, places, and situations? So they can grow up being more aware and sensitive to things beyond their normal day-to-day lives. Even though we adults are older and wiser, I think it’s much the same for us. It’s a challenge to comprehend and rely on what we cannot see.
When I look around these days, I see a lot of difficult things: sickness, death, quarantine, shutdowns, economic concerns, discord, hostility, etc. I think it’s easy to become fixated and overwhelmed with these things. The Apostle Paul lived in challenging times as well. In 2 Corinthians, he speaks plainly about physical and spiritual struggles, troubles, and suffering. He calls Christians to stand fast in the evil day; to press on despite the difficulties we face and to live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). He explains that the priceless treasure of knowing God’s glory through faith in Christ is kept in the fragile containers of human beings. That’s us! We may be weak. We may be troubled. Our bodies may be wasting away (in fact, we all are as we get older). Our bodies naturally slow, ache, break, and lose their strength over time. These are the outward things we see. But as believers in Christ, we are being renewed in God’s glory. The new life we received at salvation is being transformed into the image and likeness of Christ, as we mature in the faith, grow in grace, and gain a more intimate knowledge of our Lord and Savior. 2 Cor. 4:16-18 says “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.”
When it comes to the difficult circumstances we see around us, we are not to bury our heads or ignore what’s taking place. But we are not to sink in despair. As Paul says, we are to walk by faith and not by sight, having a perspective that focuses on the things of God which are eternal and will not pass. The things that are visible to us in this life are here for just a moment and then gone. They’re transient, temporary. They don’t compare to the glory of the Lord and the eternal life He’s promised those who put their trust in Him. Colossians 3:1-3 says “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
I know that all of this is much easier said than done. It is extremely difficult to see beyond our circumstances. It’s hard to envision what next year will look like much less things of an eternal nature. But I encourage you to see things with spiritual eyes. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has “set eternity in the human heart.” As you walk with the Lord, know that He is renewing you day by day and set your heart and mind on the things above, the things which we cannot see.