Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 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 4:16-18 NIV
This is such an encouraging passage. Paul faced challenges and troubles in his life that are unimaginable to me (2 Cor. 11:22-29). Yet he calls them light and momentary. Why is he able to do that? Because he can see beyond life here. He has caught a glimpse of glory (2 Cor. 12:1-4), and knows that there is no real comparison between what happens here and what is to come. While I have not had a look at heaven, I am thankful for the encouragement Paul gives here. When I am discouraged, or feeling overwhelmed, I can look to the future and hold on to the hope I have in Christ. To a future that this life cannot compare with.
This is also a challenging passage, because it calls on me to fix my eyes, not on the here and now, but on eternity. That is hard for me to do. This life seems so real. And while I have my hope placed in the eternal, it is not something I can grab hold of and see. What I can see and hold onto is only temporary; it will not last. But the unseen is eternal. The challenge to me here is, even while living in this world, to have my eyes and heart fixed on the eternal. To hold lightly to my earthly possessions and activities. And to hold firmly to that which will last; my eternal inheritance as a child of God. In everything I do, and in my light and momentary troubles, I should fix my eyes on the eternal.