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 4:18
It was a hard day when my husband found out that, like so many others, he too would soon be furloughed from employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We believed that God would meet our basic needs, but the uncertainty of how that would happen was still terrifying.
As I processed my jumbled emotions, I found myself revisiting a favorite poem by sixteenth-century reformer John of the Cross. Entitled “I Went In, I Knew Not Where,” the poem depicts the wonder to be found in a journey of surrender, when, going “past the boundaries of knowing,” we learn to “discern the Divine in all its guises.” And so that’s what my husband and I tried to do during this season: to turn our focus from what we could control and understand to the unexpected, mysterious, and beautiful ways God can be found all around us.
The apostle Paul invited believers to a journey from the seen to the unseen, from outward to inward realities, and from temporary struggles to the “eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Paul didn’t urge this because he lacked compassion for their struggles. He knew it would be through letting go of what they could understand that they could experience the comfort, joy, and hope they so desperately needed (vv. 10, 15–16). They could know the wonder of Christ’s life making all things new.
When have you experienced God’s glory in ways you couldn’t understand? In what areas of your life might you experience God beyond the “boundaries of knowing”?
Loving God, there’s so much heartbreak and uncertainty in our world. Help me to learn to follow You past what I can understand to the wonder of Your life breathing new life all around me.
In fulfilling his call to preach the gospel, Paul endured great dangers, persecutions, and hardships (1 Corinthians 4:9–13; 2 Corinthians 1:8–9; 6:4–10; 11:23–29). He chose to see these as “light and momentary troubles” achieving “an eternal glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Paul persevered, energized by God’s mercy (v. 1), the greatness of the gospel (vv. 2–6), and the power of Christ’s resurrected life (vv. 7–14). His confident refrain is, “We do not lose heart” (vv. 1, 16). Such confidence isn’t rooted in himself, but in God’s “all-surpassing power” (v. 7) and all-sufficient grace (12:9).