I can think of several situations in my life when, if you had said the words “it’s temporary” to me, I wouldn’t have believed you.
The heartache of a breakup.
A semester spent in a class I didn’t understand and worse, didn’t care about.
The job that felt like it was sucking the soul out of me.
The seemingly endless season when my health was in a spiral.
Thankfully, all of them eventually ended, and just a few weeks after I’d climbed out of those pits, I could barely remember the worst of the pain.
But “it’s temporary” cuts both ways. Just as much as I’ve believed the hard and bad wouldn’t ever get better, I’ve also been guilty of taking way too much comfort in believing things of this world are permanent or the most important.
This Sunday, Josh reminded us that sometimes, we fail to see heaven for what it really is, and other times, we fail to see this world for what it is. No matter which one we’re doing (and sometimes it’s both!), the moment we mistake the temporal for the eternal, we lose what matters most.
A lot of the Bible passages Josh referenced were from the apostle Paul’s letters, which should tell us something. Most of his writing came out of hardship, persecution, and pain. If anyone had a good reason to focus on himself, it was him. But he had met Jesus. He knew this life was a drop in the bucket compared to the ocean of eternity. And he didn’t keep that knowledge or the encouragement that came from it to himself – he wrote it down and we’re still benefitting today!
In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Paul says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (transcendent splendor and endless blessedness), as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Some day when we experience our “day of salvation,” we’ll see just how inadequate words are in describing what’s waiting for us. Every hurt, every joy, every struggle, and every triumph won’t even be a memory. They will simply disappear in the light of heaven.
If we believe that’s true (and it is!), we won’t live the same way anymore. Not only will we be changed, but we’ll look so different that those around might get introduced to the God of eternity, too. Nothing matters more!