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“The things that can’t be seen are eternal”

May 18, 2023

Daily Scripture

2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1

16 So we aren’t depressed. But even if our bodies are breaking down on the outside, the person that we are on the inside is being renewed every day. 17 Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison. 18 We don’t focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal.
5:1 We know that if the tent that we live in on earth is torn down, we have a building from God. It’s a house that isn’t handmade, which is eternal and located in heaven.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The apostle Paul knew firsthand about “the worst” in our world (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23-29). Yet he believed, as a pastor in Frederick Buechner’s novel The Final Beast said, that “the worst isn’t the last thing about the world. It’s the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best…. You are terribly loved and forgiven. Yes. You are healed. All is well.” * In Christ, we look beyond even the worst to the “eternal stockpile of glory” Jesus promised.

  • Scholar William Barclay wrote, “From the physical point of view life may be a slow but inevitable slipping down the slope that leads to death. But from the spiritual point of view life is a climbing up the hill that leads to the presence of God.” ** How much daily focus do you give to keeping your physical self well? How much to keeping your relationship with God strong? What changes, if any, can you make to ensure that God is renewing the person you are inside every day?
  • In Romans 8:24, Paul wrote, “We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see?” In today’s verses, he talked about our focus on the things we can’t see yet which are more enduring than what we can see. What hopes do you hold that remain out of sight right now? What steps do you take to anchor your hope in God’s goodness, and to live with patience and trust?

Dear Jesus, so much of what you said and did seemed odd and out of step to many people. But you weren’t shortsighted. You looked beyond the obvious and visible. Give me your eyes to see, however dimly, the glory of eternity. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie serves as the Student Discipleship Program Director with Resurrection Students. She has nearly 20 years of volunteer and professional ministry experience and loves walking alongside and encouraging others in their spiritual journey. Mikiala is blessed to be an adoptive aunt and godmother to many kiddos and lives with her 10-pound Yorkie, KiKi Okoye Tennie.

When I was about four years old my mom fell down a short flight of steps while she was pregnant with my little brother. I don’t remember much, but I do remember the flurry of activity, the tension in the air, and the cold feeling of fear settling in.

We’re not really sure if that was the moment my mother’s journey with chronic back pain began, but it was definitely a moment that contributed to her pain over the years. Between that, the genetic disc degeneration that runs in our family, three C-sections, and two back surgeries, my mom lived a life where debilitating physical pain was ever present.

In our home, it was not uncommon for my mom to have to retire to her bed when she would have much rather enjoyed spending time with the rest of the family.

Often, she would say to one of us, “One day, I’ll have a new body—no more pain.” We would nod in agreement, knowing she was referring to the heavenly body that Scripture promised her. She held tightly to that promise her entire life, believing that which was unfulfilled, unseen, yet promised, would ultimately come to pass.

Although my family still grieves losing her “too soon,” I rejoice knowing that she gets to bask in the eternal. A promise fulfilled.

All of us have troubles that we are facing in our lives. They are the things we see all too well. What we can’t see though, is what we should be focusing on. “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

As I reflect on the recent celebration of Mother’s Day, I am reminded of the endurance of my own mother. She ran the race set before her, trusting in God’s promises the entire way—even though the hope and promise of eternity wasn’t something she could guarantee or see, she trusted anyway.

The promise is true for all of us. We too, should not give up in spite of our individual troubles. They are temporary, but God’s promise of hope and ultimate healing is eternal. Be encouraged. Stay the course. Don’t give up. We can’t see it, but hope is always on the heavenly horizon.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* From
** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letters to the Corinthians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 201.