2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
As is frequently the case, I had real difficulty choosing what part of 1 Corinthians 4 to write on, because it is so rich. What clinched the decision just now was thinking about my wife’s attitude in all the physical troubles she experiences. She lives out this passage, and the people around her are amazed. This attitude enables her to accomplish far more than many people half her age with a fraction of her medical problems. The whole point is a matter of perspective. When we are fixed on the here-and-now, negatives often seem to predominate. However, when our focus is on the eternal, what we go through here feels like no more than stretching exercises before the big race. That’s not to say that joys here are overlooked, but rather that they are recognized as no more than a foretaste of what God has in store for us in eternity. My wife has the advantage, you could say, of having had a near-death experience over 40 years ago, and from what she saw of heaven, she’s really looking forward to going back. I’m really thankful the Lord sent her back here and has given her patience to deal with life, because my life would be far poorer without her.
With such an example so close at hand, I don’t have much excuse for the complaining and worrying I do! I aspire to the attitude expressed here, but full achievement seems to be in the future. Even so, I have had people comment on my attitude, sometimes simply with admiration and sometimes even with a degree of amazement. When that happens I try to steer them to Christ who enables this viewpoint, remembering what Peter said. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15) Because I am a Caucasian in Japan, it seems like a majority of the people I talk to chalk it up to my being a foreigner, and don’t think they could ever have the assurance of faith I have. I can’t convince them by my words, so I’ve got to pray for them and trust the Holy Spirit to work His miracles in their hearts.
Father, thank You for the wife You’ve given me, and thank You for the opportunities You give me to share the Good News of Your salvation. I do pray for those with whom I share, that the veil Paul spoke of earlier in this chapter would indeed be taken away and they would be able to receive Your truth and so be set free, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!