Therefore we do not lose heart.
Even though our outward man is perishing,
yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV) ~
My body is “taking a beating” as the Lord works on the pottery wheel to transform me. Saturday morning I hurt my left lower back; Sunday, I drank a different water and the left side of my tongue, mouth, esophagus, and body reacted by swelling. My immediate response was to cry out to the Lord for help; He heard me and helped me.
I know that my body is slowly falling apart, but the daily grace He gives helps me get through it. I won’t lie to you, sometimes fear creeps in, sometimes it comes in like a flood, but GOD is GREATER than fear, and His word engages it and destroys it.
He gives me perspective. For instance, the J.B Phillips New Testament combines verse 16 with verses 15 and 17:
“We wish you could see how all this is working out for your benefit, and how the more grace God gives, the more thanksgiving will redound to his glory. This is the reason why we never collapse. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain. For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent.”
I’m not saying that it’s easy going with my body, but hope in Him keeps me going. In other words, I don’t “lose heart,” because I know that He’s transforming my mind and conforming me into the person He wants me to be—stronger than the body, persevering through the discomfort and pain, and inwardly being renewed and matured in Him.
(One day, when He’s “completed” me, I’ll go home and then I’ll be perfect, no more corruption of this mortal body! In heaven I’ll be incorruptible and eternal; it’s the gift of God to anyone who receives His gift of salvation. Oh, what joy awaits!)
Today, a friend reminded me of Psalm 143:8 and Isaiah 43:2-3,
“Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.”
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I gave Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place.”
He cares for me throughout each day. Though I don’t know what’s before me, I trust Him. He walks by my side and keeps me on the way I should go. He truly cares for my soul. I “pass through the waters,” staying above their surface. I’m walking “through the fire” and not being burned nor scorched. Sunday was a most difficult day, but I see now that He was showing me the truth, “I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” He gave His beloved Son for my ransom; and, He took my place on the cross and took the sting out of death. Therefore, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
In verse 17 of 2 Corinthians 4, Paul states, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” George Campbell Morgan says of this verse, “This very ‘affliction worketh’ the glory. Affliction is not something to be endured in order to reach glory. It is the very process which creates the glory. Through travail comes birth. Through suffering comes the triumph. Through dying comes the living.”
We may not understand why we’re going through affliction, but can you imagine a glory that surpasses our afflictions?!
Verse 18 continues, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (NLT).
Abba, Father, there’s no one like You to whom we can turn, who’ll tell us the truth, and who truly cares for our souls. We’re weak, but You’re strong. We’re temporal, but You’re eternal, therefore we live, daily, with our eyes on You. Your presence with us enables us to go through our “light” afflictions because You provide what we need. Enable us to see our afflictions through Your eyes, because it’s our response that determines whether or not the “exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” will be worked in us. Our victory comes from You! For Your glory and honor, Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray, Amen.