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Eternal hope

Eternal hope

Something to read

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

Something to think about

In the US sitcom Friends, Rachel experiences pain during her pregnancy, and rushes to hospital. Diagnosing Braxton Hicks contractions, a doctor refers to them as ‘mild discomfort’, and Ross, the father of her baby, quips that most women don’t feel them at all. Rachel’s response to the men has become infamous: ‘no uterus, no opinion’. The best judge of a person’s painful experience is the one feeling it! 

The events that Paul refers to in these verses are not what most of us would call ‘slight momentary affliction’, a phrase I would consider too understated for a stubbed toe. He lists them throughout the letter: being whipped, beaten and stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned, threatened by bandits, hungry, sleepless and abandoned. With my pastoral care hat on, I’d want to gently tell Paul that some of these are serious traumas, and that counselling might help him to process the impact of such suffering.

But I wouldn’t be wise to correct him. Paul’s perspective on his own life is absolutely rooted in hope: a sure and certain hope of the eternal future that he can’t yet see, but is promised by the God he can count on. Instead I might try looking at my own troubles through the same lens!

Something to do

Listen to an episode (or both!) of Christian Aid’s ‘United in Hope’ podcast, and send the link to a friend who might appreciate it too.

Something to pray

Gracious God, thank you that your promises are sure, and that one day there will be no more crying or mourning or pain. You know better than anyone what troubles I contend with; as I reflect on the year gone by, give me your perspective on my life and fill me with hope. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones