Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK FIFTEEN
ORBIT – DAY SEVENTY-TWO
Hello and welcome to Orbit – a resource for daily time with God, created by the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each weekday we give you a bit of the Bible to ponder, plus a practical way of applying it to your life today.
BIBLE READING – 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
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.
What are your eyes fixed on? Perhaps this time of pandemic has made it hard for you to focus on anything much beyond the weeks and months that take us out of lockdown. Or perhaps the reverse is true; maybe the thing that is keeping you going in this time is the thought of an exciting holiday or some other bright element in your future. Either way, what is certainly true is that it has been difficult to hold onto hope at times in the midst of our present troubles.
How prophetic then, today’s reading feels. We identify with the idea that we might lose heart; like Paul we have a sense of momentary troubles, temporary but very real trauma, and an overriding sense of our vulnerability in this life. Paul – and of course he would say this – encourages us not to focus on the present, but to remember the eternal perspective. And of course, this is all good and right. But let’s have a bit of honesty today…
It’s hard to do what Paul is saying here. He is literally asking us to do the impossible: to fix and focus our eyes on something that can’t be seen. When you focus on something, you generally have to be able to visualise it – either because it’s right in front of you, or because you have seen it or a representation of it before. But the tricky thing about God is that you can’t actually see him; you can observe where he is at work, and how he moves through the lives of other people, but you can’t see him. He is our ultimate hope, but in a sense he’s invisible. I think we need to be honest here! This is tough!
Having said all that, there is still a really helpful idea at work here. Paul is encouraging us to lift our gaze above the troubles and struggles of the present moment; he is reminding us that the world is much bigger that just the part we see – that there is a huge iceberg beyond the tip. When we find it impossible to understand why a good God would allow our lives to face huge challenges, this perspective isn’t just important, but vital. Although it is difficult, we have to remind ourselves regularly that “what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Not only is this helpful for us, when we are trying to make sense of our often difficult lives, but it is an incredible hope to share with others. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the physical and the here and now, that we forget to shout about the incredible, supernatural, eternal elements of our faith. Eternal life with Jesus might be invisible right now, but it’s real and it’s the best news ever. If we share our faith with our friends but decide to leave these bits out, we risk skipping over the best part. It’s not easy to fix our eyes on Jesus, but learning to do so ends up providing the greatest hope imaginable.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord God, we echo the words of that character in Mark’s Gospel who said to Jesus “I do believe, Lord help my unbelief”. We recognise both that we want to fix our eyes on you and your eternal hope, and that this is not easy. Please help us today to learn what it is to fix our eyes on things unseen. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
To take part today, you’ll need a camera – If you have a smart phone then that will make things easy. Go for a walk, or just head out into your garden if you have one, and spend a bit of time in nature reflecting on God. Try not to be distracted by your phone, even if it’s in your hand. Your challenge is to take a photograph of something which reminds you of God’s glory. It might be something really obvious, or something really abstract – it doesn’t really matter. Afterwards, look again at this photo, and see if it helps you to visualise the unseen glory of God a little better.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!