things above.

"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."
 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

anyone who knows me knows that i love taking random photographs of the sky.  sometimes daily.  my iPhone - and my instagram - are full of them.  i am enamored by giant, white puffy clouds constrasted against a bright blue sky.  rays of light streaking out like beacons from the darkness of a storm.  sunrise and sunset, projecting a glory all their own.  i wholeheartedly believe in the truth written by the psalmist in psalm 19: "the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."  it is a truth i have instilled in my children time and time again, so much so that they often call the sky to my attention or photograph it themselves and share with me:  

and while it is easy to communicate the evidence of God through the beauty of His creation, it is much harder to communicate and contrast the ugliness of humanity, of sin, of evil - and the unfathomable suffering in a lost and dying world.  the chaos that takes place underneath the beauty we behold in the sky.  it weighs heavy on my heart in times of tragedy - and every single time i read the news.  kids ask the hard questions.  the ones that take us to the hard places in life - and in the face of death.  how can i explain to my own children what is beyond my own understanding?  that this life - and everything in it - will pass away.  one day or another.  one way or another.  we are here right now, in this moment, but only for a moment because the truth is, we are "citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior." (Phil 3:20)  Psalm 19 ends with a simple prayer that says, "may meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

i confess that the meditation of my own heart has not been pleasing lately.  i've ingested too much news coverage, too much social media, too much of everything of this earth.  too much of the temporal and too little of the eternal.  so much so that my heart has become clouded.  polluted.  overwhelmed.  with angst.  with sorrow.  with worry.  with fear.  "I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I." (Psalm 61:2)

and i realize the one thing i want desperately to teach my children is the one thing that He is teaching me: comfort is found in Him - and in Him alone.  when we seek Him through His word, He opens the floodgates of grace and unleashes His truth into our hearts; a tsunami over the lies of the enemy, a rushing, cleansing flood over the sorrow of this world; a piercing light into the darkness.  this world, and everything in it, will blind our minds and blur our vision.  His word is the only lens through which we can gain eternal perspective.  

and so, heart burdened and soul heavy-laden, i seek  His word and miraculously, it speaks.  truth i want to inscribe on the corners of my home and of my heart - and the hearts of my children:  He is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  (Ps 46:1)  He is the only source of peace and when our minds becomes wrought with anxiety over the cares of this world, His word is the only source that has the power to renew our minds.  (Ro 12:2)  In this world, we will have trouble - but we trust in the one who has overcome this world.  (Jn 16:33); His peace is not peace like the world gives.  Because of Him, I will not allow my heart to be troubled or afraid (Jn 14:27); He is close to me when I am brokenhearted, He rescues me when my spirit is crushed (Ps 34:18); He is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth (Ps  145:18);  I will not live in fear because His perfect love casts out all fear (1 Jn 4:18).  i want them to know and experience and live in the truth of 2 Cor 4:17 - that regardless of what they face in this life, there is an eternal glory that outweighs it all.  there is a name that is above every other name, label, tragedy, sickness.  i want them to know and experience the truth of Jn 10:10 that Christ has come to give us LIFE, and give it to the full.  here and now.  forever.  

tragedy and death awaken us to the brevity of our own lives.  the fragility of all that we hold.  scripture says that we are not guaranteed tomorrow - we know that we are not guaranteed our next breath.  even secular human logic has us convinced that we must try harder to cherish every moment, to see each moment as a blessing - and it is a gift from above - but in the midst of grasping onto what we are not guaranteed i think we too-often lose sight of what we are guaranteed through Christ:  LIFE.  ETERNAL.  

through grace by faith.

eternal.  like, forever.  we are going to live forever.  this is really good news - news that should affect every facet of our lives and the way in which we spend our lives.  

perhaps we don't rejoice it in as often as we should because is a concept beyond our human understanding.  we claim to believe it and yet live as is this life is all we have - and all that we are.  as if all too often i am so wrapped up in my own temporal, earthly existence that i lose sight of the eternal.  i am so busy trying to live in today, i lose sight of the day that is to come:  the day when we will see. His. face.  the day in which He will wipe every tear from from our eyes.  the day that there will no longer be death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away.  (Rev 21:4)  and when we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing His praise than when we first begun...

Lord, give me eternal perspective.  Set my heart and mind on things above.  

"Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, 
seated at the right hand of God.  
Set your minds on things above
not on earthly things." 
Colossians 3:2


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