Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
2 Corinthians 4:13-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
Living by Faith
16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, the fourth chapter says, “So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” We only need to look in the mirror every day and we see what the Apostle Paul saw in himself: “our outer nature is wasting away.”
My wife Susan and I visited the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum a few years ago and were struck by a series of photographs of the president displayed chronologically. The change in his “outer nature” was shocking. The strain of the office in the midst of the Civil War took its toll. But, there was something else going on inside the president—his “inner nature.” You can see it in his eyes and in his words and actions during the same period covered by the photographs.
In the same way, Paul continues with this perspective: “our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1) What Paul is describing is the perspective of what the Gospel of John calls “eternal life.”
Paul’s words remind me of another president—John Quincy Adams. He was hobbling down the street one day in his favorite city of Boston. He was 80 years old—quite old in the 1800’s. He was leaning heavily on a cane as he walked. A friend approached him and, affectionately slapping him on the shoulder, said, “Well, how’s John Quincy Adams this morning?”
The old man turned slowly, smiled, and said, “Fine, sir, fine! But this old tenement that John Quincy lives in is not so good. The underpinning is about to fall away. The thatch is all gone off the roof, and the windows are so dim John Quincy can hardly see out anymore. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if before the winter is over he had to move out. But as for John Quincy Adams, he never was better—never better!”
So, as Paul wrote, we do not lose heart. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster