So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as 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 unseen are eternal. –Luke 7:12-15
It’s hard not to look around and get discouraged. People everywhere are angry or afraid about any number of things. It seems like the whole world is caught up in unrest or fear of getting sick or losing their source of income. The constant refrain from everyone is that things are not the way they used to be. Life has changed, if only for a time, but it has changed dramatically.
That leads us to a truth: everything we see changes. Whether it’s as predictable as the changing of the seasons or as unpredictable as a pandemic, everything we observe with our eyes changes. That’s what St. Paul was getting at in our devotion reading: “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient.” They’re short-lived. Even if it’s something we’ve familiar with for decades, that’s really only a very short time span in the grand scheme of the world.
So if we can’t look to those things that we see, where are we to look? St. Paul says, “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” But how do we look to something that’s unseen? That’s the trick. We don’t look with our eyes. We “look” with our ears. We don’t see, technically speaking. We listen.
If we want something that’s sure and certain, something that is not transient and changing, we should listen to the promises of God. He promises things like forgiveness, eternal life, to give us everything we need for our bodies and lives. Our eyes will only tell us one thing: everything is temporary. But our ears will tell us that God is forever. His promises are forever. His love is forever.
So even when everything changes, we don’t lose heart. We hear and believe God’s promises, even if the outer nature—those things we see with our eyes—is changing and passing away. We know that we have something more certain waiting for us, something more solid: an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. The day will come when our Lord returns and bestows that glory to us. It’s the glory of resurrection, the glory of eternal life with Him. He’ll set it upon our heads like a golden crown, heavy but glorious; permanent and unchanging. And then all that has been unseen—His promises, His love, His grace, His glory—will then be seen with our eyes when we’re called to be with Him forever. We’ll know that everything that was suffered in this life isn’t even worth comparing to the wonders and joys that the Lord already has prepared for us.
Heavenly Father, Your mercy is with us all our days. Be our strength and support through the wearisome changes of this world, and at life’s end grant us Your promised rest and the full joys of Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen