2 Cor 4:16-18
"So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye."
I have two kids under 5 and I really hate seeing them in pain. I would do ANYTHING to keep them from harm's way. It’s really tempting to shelter them, prop them up and surround them in bubble wrap so they never experience hardship. However, if I treated them this way, they would never learn. To me, some of the most important skills I can teach my children are resilience, openness and determination. How to speak up when something bad happens to them, how to defend themselves and others, how to recover from disappointments and keep on moving forward in hardship. How to love like Christ and live openly in his presence come-what-may.
The inevitable is that bad things will happen. Our assurance is that God's unfolding grace is always at work, even when it’s not seen or being demonstrative.
That’s why we never give up. Through hardships, there is more going on than meets the eye. Our inner self is being built up and strengthened. Exercised. It’s learning the ways of faith and hope in a way it never could walking down easy street.
Don’t chase after a picture perfect life, one that looks good from the outside but is neglected within. The depth of character is formed on stormy, crashing seas where we have to dig deep and trust. Faith is built on the unseen, the untouchable, and the undeniable love of God. How much would the world change if we valued the unseen? If we chased after kindness instead of positions. If we built character and hope rather than empires. And practised humility, compassion and community in the place of coming first.
There is always more going on around you than meets the eye. Hardship isn’t just painful, it’s a training ground for resilience and strength. It’s an opportunity for grace and hope to grow. And it’s the unseen factors of life, not the seen trophies or moments of glory, that carry us into eternity. Open your eyes to them.
And he is always there, with us through it all, teaching us the “unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matt 11:29)