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The Blue Letter Bible
Devotionals :: Day by Day by Grace :: Today's Reading

Hoekstra's Day by Day by Grace (May 28th)

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Temporary Visible Things, Eternal Invisible Things

For our light affliction—is working for us—[an] eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Our gracious God wants to use the trials in our lives ("our light affliction") to produce for us eternal blessings ("eternal weight of glory"). He intends to use our daily difficulties to enlarge our spiritual capacity to experience more fully the glorious eternal realities of knowing, worshiping, and serving God forever! The Lord desires a full, rich inheritance to await us in heaven: "For so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:11).

A life of great difficulty here on earth does not guarantee enriched experience in heaven. The process of earthly trials producing heavenly blessings is not automatic for God's children. Verse 18 tells us exactly when this process is occurring: "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." The difficulties of life are turned to eternal blessings "while" we turn our attention upon unseen realities.

Many believers waste their afflictions by focusing upon "the things which are seen." They set their minds on themselves, their circumstances, or some conventional human wisdom. Such an approach to life's problems fosters temporal frustrations, not eternal blessings. To accrue eternal benefits from temporal situations, we must look to unseen eternal resources, because "the things which are not seen are eternal."

What are these unseen things? They are the resources of the grace of God. This includes grace for consolation and hope: "Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has…given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace" (2 Thessalonians 2:16). This also includes grace for endurance: "My grace is sufficient for you" (2 Corinthians 12:9). It actually includes "grace upon grace" (John 1:16) for whatever is needed.

All of this is available through daily dependence upon the Lord. "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). The Christian life is lived by faith in the Lord, not by mastery of observable circumstances. God's people enter into His blessings by trusting in Him. It is by looking to the grace of God during our difficulties that afflictions are turned into an "eternal weight of glory."

Lord God of abundant grace, I confess that I have frequently wasted my afflictions by concentrating upon temporal things—very often focusing upon myself. Please help me to look to the resources of Your unfailing grace, that my trials might have eternal, heavenly significance. Through Christ Jesus, I pray, Amen.

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