Are you thinking about giving up right now? All of us have been in those shoes at some point in our lives. We’re tired. We’re in pain. The constant criticism gets to us. It feels like things are falling apart.
We lose heart. And it seems like the only logical choice is to plan our escape.
Paul surely understood what this feels like. He acknowledges to the Corinthians that he and his companions are all too human — nothing more than clay jars. Very fragile. Very breakable. Very weak.
And the pressures of Paul’s ministry were extreme. In chapter 1, Paul had told the Corinthians that he and his companions had been “under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8, NIV).
So how was it that Paul was still hanging in there, ministering to the Corinthians, sharing the gospel with them, and working hard to get them aligned to God’s will for them?
He tells us his secret. And the way he puts it is more than a little ironic. He tells the Corinthians that he keeps going by fixing his eyes on things he can’t see.
At first, we might think, “Huh?”
But really, it’s not that hard to understand what Paul means here. When we’re thinking about giving up on our work, or on a relationship, or even on life itself, Paul reminds us to focus on the eternal glory that awaits all those who trust in Jesus as their Savior.
By comparison to the immense joys of heaven, the hurt and pain we’re undergoing now are really minuscule and microscopic. They are — as painful as they seem to us today — light and momentary compared to the hefty glory that will be bestowed on us, a glory we will enjoy for eternity!
So, are you tired of feeling tired? Are you ready to give up on giving up? Do you want to find the heart that you lost?
Focus on something you can’t see right now. Fix your eyes on the finish line. And keep on keepin’ on — running hard and fast toward Jesus. He is really all you want and all you need. Even though you can’t see it now, Jesus — by grace alone — has good things waiting for you on the other side of that finish line.
Amazingly good things!
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV).
Lord, help me to see the unseen with great clarity. Keep me focused on your gracious promises of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. I want to know that the “finish line” with all its rewards will come, and much sooner than I realize. May that be a daily encouragement to me to persevere and keep on trying, even when I am hurting and tired, and thinking of giving up.
Our Bible reading for Monday, August 31, is Micah 1:1 – 4:13, 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 and Psalm 104:31-35
Header image based on "Vision of Eyechart With Glasses" by Ken Teegardin, CC By-SA 2.0