Todays readings… 2 Kings 9, Lamentations 5, 2 Corinthians 3,4
“BY THE MERCY OF GOD WE DO NOT LOSE HEART”
This statement by Paul in today’s readings [2 Cor. 4 v.16] is achieved; or – at least the foundation is laid – by reading portions of God’s word every day. The effectiveness of this depends on the spirit with which we read. Most face the challenge each day of finding time to read; also time for meditation and reflection on what they have read and to ask themselves, ‘Where am I at this moment in the sight of God?’
Many have times of difficulty and frustration to face and overcome especially during week/workdays. We note what Paul goes on to write; “for this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” [v.17]. May we all have positive things in our daily experience which help to balance out the afflictions and irritations that challenge our “peace”.
We all experience things which tend to frustrate us, but Paul says, “by the mercy of God we do not lose heart” [v.16]. As we see his list of afflictions – ours are nothing! The reason why he did not lose heart was because he looked “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” [v.18].
Let’s follow his example. We read 4 verses earlier “knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will raise us also …” [v.14] Sometimes that sense of “knowing” eludes us: the temptations and distractions are the clouds in this world that blot out the “son”.
We have climbed a few mountains in our younger days and sometimes we climbed surrounded by clouds, but then, suddenly there is a break in the clouds and we realise both how much we have climbed, but greater still, we marvel at the vista of the distant scene that dramatically unfolds. Progress in the believer’s life is like that.
Jeremiah is an exception to the general experience of “light affliction” and as we complete reading his Lamentations today we note his lament; “…the joy of our hearts has ceased” [5 v.15] Yet Paul did not “lose heart” – he could write, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair … struck down, but not destroyed” [4 v.8,9] May we “not lose heart” no matter what tribulations may yet come in these “last days.”