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 4:18 NIV)
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 NIV)
THIS MEDITATION HITS HOME.
Like many people who reach adulthood before accepting Jesus’ love and grace into their hearts, I responded to the Master’s promise of what He could do for me — that He would provide rest for my troubled soul and eternal life with Him in Paradise.
I did not “sign up” for the rest of it — spiritual warfare, condemnation from loved ones, or conviction for sinful thoughts and behavior. In other words, I wanted what Jesus could do for me, without thinking I would be called on to do anything in return.
Oh, yes, I assumed I would be made more aware of other people’s hurts and needs and maybe asked to do something about it, you know, from time to time. Nothing really inconvenient and probably nothing right away.
I had no idea.
From the very beginning that Jesus set up shop inside my heart, He began to change me completely. Pastor Kyle Idleman, in his series “Not A Fan, says while we’re expecting a tune-up, Jesus plans a complete overhaul.
That’s certainly what I found.
WHILE THE MASTER HAD PLANS for me that by far exceeded the plans I had for myself, I was overjoyed that He had redeemed me from sin, and I wanted my loved ones to join me — join Him — join us in this dance of redemption!
So I prayed for loved ones, starting with my daughters. They were not raised as Christians because their parents did not know the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal Savior. Although they have turned out to be lovely adult women, they haven’t experienced the joy of accepting the Lord’s promises.
One prayer did it.
That was all Satan needed to come after me. Before I accepted Jesus, Satan left me alone. I was no threat to his earthly rule. Once I accepted the Lord, Satan was ticked.
He hurled me against a wall — emotionally, of course, not physically — and then I felt as if I were falling into a dark bottomless chasm. I was scared. I knew what the cause was, but I had no idea what to do about it.
So, I did what comes naturally for me. I quit.
THE NEXT EVENING, AT A BIBLE STUDY of Christians meeting in one member’s home, I blurted out my decision. I hadn’t “signed up” for this abuse, so I wanted out.
The Bible verse for our group that night was 2 Corinthians 4:18, which highlights this devotional: “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.”
It spoke to me.
It wasn’t just the clear simple sentence speaking but more a tunnel that led me to “see” or understand that I was embarking on an exciting journey, and that my Guide would take me through the thistles that marked the pathway. My job was to trust Him and to persevere.
What I could see was gloomy darkness. What He was calling me to see was unseen — something beyond my vision, beyond my grasp, beyond my understanding.
He wanted me to see the eternal, that this moment was temporary and nothing but a speed bump. Yes, Satan was trying to derail me, and if I focused only on what I could see, he would win. But Jesus wanted me for Himself, and He wasn’t going to let go of me.
He prompted me to focus on what I couldn’t see. He could see it. He was there. He would lead me, and, in time, I would be there with Him.
JESUS WAS TELLING ME to trust Him, even though I wanted to turn back. He held His hand out to me — much like He did for a drowning Simon Peter when the disciple lost faith after taking a few steps on water — and rescued me.
The writer of Hebrews tells us in 10:23 (NIV), “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
With prayer and the help of Christian fellowship, I got through that valley and experienced Satan’s wrath again when I prayed for my parents’ salvation. Despite this uncomfortable trend, I still prayed for my brothers.
Each time Satan came after me, I knew the antidote to his evil, twisted lies. God provided the formula. It was inspired by the Holy Spirit, but the writer was James, Jesus’ half-brother: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:7b-8a ESV).
When life challenges us, God restores us and renews us. He promises us that, in the end, it will all work out the way it’s supposed to (Romans 8:28): “And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (BSB).
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, our constant companion when we are challenged by life, we pray, saying “Our Father, who is in heaven, holy is your name. May your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name.” Amen