2016-07: Just Travelling Through
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Just Travelling Through

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18because we look 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 un-seen are eternal." 2 Cor 4:16-18 RSV

I remember reading this passage as a teenager. It may or may not have been the first time I’d ever read it. Perhaps it was one of those instances when a previously read passage jumps off the page. Either way, this time, it really stood out.

Behind our house were paddocks with trees and grasses, with a gully feeding a small dam that invited Tarzan swings and yabbie catching. On this particular day, I went for a walk, probably armed with a stick to ward off any unwanted slithering companions, armed, as well, with my Bible. Something was bothering me and I needed to get away to think, to read, to pray. Who knows what my angst was, but I remember when I got to this Scripture, and verse 17 in particular, I had an acute reaction. “Slight and momentary!! Slight and momentary!?! This doesn’t feel either slight, light nor momentary, God!” And thus began my conversation with Him.

I’m sure we’ve all felt that way at some point; the issue, trouble, or dilemma we’re facing does not feel slight (small in degree, of little importance or influence). It can seem like the trouble will never end. The tunnel is long, it is dark, and seemingly has no end to it. Verse 16 talks of an “outer nature […] wasting away” while also saying, “So we do not lose heart…”
“Ummm….yes well actually I do,” you might say.
Ah, yes. Sometimes we do—especially when we don’t remember or focus on the truths which are written before and after those words.

The preceding verses of chapter 4 speak of the life and grace God gives us through Jesus. These words express something that has been done, and which continues to be done, for and in us—past and continuing tense. Paul has us look back to what Christ accomplished and purchased for us through His “slight and momentary trouble” on the cross. Anyone who has endured any acute headache or migraine knows that even five minutes of that cranium-splitting pain can feel like hours. Yet, consider the pain Jesus endured as thorns sat piercing his skull, while nail-impaled hands and nail-enforced feet bore the weight of His body.

Consider the pain in His heart as He looked out over the crowd, witnessing the hatred, the mocking scorn of those congregated, then as His eyes scanned below and He witnessed the terror, grief, and incomprehensible confusion of His mother, His brothers, His friends. Consider His pain as He experienced the darkness that overcame His soul and spirit as He took on our sin—sin which separates us from God—sin which consequently caused Him to be separated from the intimacy and closeness with His Father—something He had never before experienced.

I’m sure this did not feel either light, slight or momentary to Him. However, in Hebrews 12 it is said of Him that “…for the joy that was set before Him, [He] endured the cross, despising the shame…” Joy is such an curious word to use in the context of such a bleeding, brutal experience, but as Jesus kept His eyes on that which was “set before Him”, not on the “slight and momentary”, He counted it more than worthwhile. He knew joy was coming.

Jesus’ experience purchased eternal salvation for us—our then. It also purchased grace for our now—grace for our present problems, troubles and dilemmas. A grace that enables. A grace that empowers. A grace that, as we call on His name, can save us in the midst of our angst, grief and confusion.

The following verses of 2 Corinthians also draw our eyes to the future—that which shall be done and shall be given. We are reminded that in the span of God’s plan and view, this minute, this month, this seeming ‘mountain’ in our life is a mere blip on the screen of eternity. We are reminded of a purpose, “…preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”; one we certainly do not understand, nor can comprehend at this point in time, and one which we do not appreciate while we endure our current pain.

In our pain we question. We may get incredibly angry, whether at the circumstance, people, or God Himself. We may feel confused, lost, alone, cut off from God. To experience emotions is normal. It’s natural. Jesus Himself grieved. Jesus Himself said, “My God My God, why have You forsaken Me”. That’s the travelling through part. We just need to ensure that we do indeed travel through, not erect a tent and dwell there.

The travelling through part is difficult, it’s messy. However, in order to reach the “joy set before us”, it is necessary to travel through. The travelling through part contains “the things that are seen”. However, praise the Lord, there is a time when the “things that are unseen” will be apparent, we just can not see them from this part of the picture. Our ability, help and wisdom to travel through comes as we “fix our eyes on Jesus—the author and perfecter of our faith”, allowing Him to carry, strengthen and walk with us in our ugly travelling through stage.

God does not dismiss the pain of our experience in the “things that are seen” section of our journey. He is the One who said to “weep with those who weep; rejoice with those who rejoice” (Rom 12:15 ). He is the One Who promises provision in the “things that are seen” times. He promises comfort. He promises to provide peace. All we have to do is turn to His tap of grace and position ourselves to receive it.

Belinda Tigell is an Australian singer-songwriter, speaker, teacher, worship leader and author. Find her regular blogs on belindatigellministries.com. 
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