16So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because 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. II Corinthians 4:16-18
I recently had the pleasure of an extended conversation with a professor of quantum physics. He is a man who has devoted his life to thinking and writing about things at the subatomic level, like protons, electrons, neutrons, quarks, and gluons. Although I couldn’t understand a thing he said, it was fun to think about a dimension of reality where things behave with total disregard for common sense. Like, things that can be two places at the same time, or things that can act together while far apart, with no apparent way to communicate. My brain was spinning!
The professor tried to console me for not understanding anything he was talking about. He laughed and said, “We quantum physicists don’t understand quantum physics either!” Then, as we said goodbye, I thought about how many times I think and talk about things I don’t understand, but I know are true. Things like Trinity, Christmas, resurrection, and life eternal. And I glory in their wonder and mystery. I praise God my little mind can’t contain them!
In today’s text, the Apostle Paul leads us into still more mystery as he points to a holy paradox at the sub-eternal level. He writes of the daily inner renewal we experience as Christ-followers. “Even though our outer nature is wasting away,” Paul says, “our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” While the strength of youth falters and fades, and our bodies ache, paradoxically our spirits are broadened and refreshed as we reach out for the eternal.
Then, with what must have been a twinkle in his eye, Paul knowingly declares that “our slight momentary affliction,” is preparing us for glory, namely, “an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure.” Paul says that the trials and sufferings we’re going through are actually “preparing us” for the glory ahead. There is purpose in the hard times you’re going through. Something incredible lies ahead.
Our daily, inner renewing speaks to us of realities we know, but can’t understand. And the Holy Spirit reminds us of the things that really matter, and the things that really count, as “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.”
Grace and Peace,
Bible classes this Wednesday, September 2: at Noon and at 7p.m. in the Garces Room at Franciscan Renewal Center. See you there!
Beginning on September 8: weekly Bible Classes classes will now be held every Tuesday! in the Garces Room at the Franciscan Renewal Center:
ENCOUNTERING GOD IN HOLY SCRIPTURE
Jesus said that “a person does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” In this class we will explore what it means to live by God’s word, what it means to receive God’s word fresh each day and to respond to his personal word to us. This is more than a class in how to study the Bible, or in how to pray. This is about a developing lively conversation with the Living Word.
Begins Tuesday, September 8, NEW TIME: 11:00 — Noon!
EXPLORING ECCLESIASTES: A BOOK FOR OUR TIME
The Book of Ecclesiastes is one of the Bible’s most enigmatic, yet most relevant and beautiful books. Ecclesiastes asks the hard questions about the meaning of life, grief and loss, pleasure and profit, money and accumulation, and applies godly wisdom to everyday realities. You’re invited to join us in this study of what is most important in life and how we can live more rich and fulfilling lives.
Begins Tuesday, September 8, 7:00 P.M. — 8:00 P.M