So we’re not giving up. How could we!
Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us,
on the inside, where God is making new life,
not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times,
the lavish celebration prepared for us.
There’s far more here than meets the eye.
The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow.
But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
II Corinthians 4:17
I believe Paul is talking about persecution here, which is not the same as the hard times we have been going through lately (cancer in two family members). However, these I am sure of: hard times are hard times and no one is immune to hard times. Temptation when going through hard times is to isolate and turn our thoughts inward and think that no one understands, no one “gets it,” and we are all alone. Sometimes, unfortunately, that is true. No one gets it and we are alone. At times, our temptation is to just surrender, give up and give in.
Paul calls hard times “small potatoes” compared to what is coming in the future – heaven. I have to admit, that seldom does that give me much comfort. I mean, heaven seems so far away and so unimaginable and well, I still have to get through today. How do the coming good times help with that?
I think the answer lies in this that Paul wrote, “Not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.” Not one day, not even a moment of one day, goes by without His unfolding, unlimited, unimaginable, undeserved grace, unfolding in my life, in your life. That daily grace gives me hope. That daily grace helps me keep my eyes on a future hope but also helps me to see the bright shining moments of grace that light my day even in the midst of hard times.
The laughter of a child, the embrace of a friend, the meal cooked and delivered by well-wishers, the dog that never grows tired of sitting by my side, the refreshing breeze on a hot summer day, a word of encouragement at just the right time, a good night’s sleep – all small graces that point the way to a future unimaginable grace. Small graces that help the hard times lose just a little of their overwhelming power.
Thank You Jesus, for opening my eyes to see the small graces You have provided. Thank You for what they tell me of Your great grace, Your overwhelming, undeserved grace that is unfolding on me daily. When I grumble and complain and feel sorry for myself, would You please send a reminder that my life is surrounded by Your grace and this hard time is just a season; it will pass, but Your grace will remain. Your grace is sufficient for me and for that, I am grateful. Amen.
This was originally posted in 2013. I believe it is still relevant.
pic credit: Women of the ELCA