I have recently memorized the following verses from II Corinthians 4:17,18
“For our light affliction which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen but at the things which are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporary but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
When the difficulties come (and I didn’t say if, but when) will we endure with faith knowing that God is working that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (a thought and truth than I can barely imagine?) How in the world do we hold on believing that we are in that difficulty only for a season and time and that it will not last forever? It may be for this temporal lifetime but not our eternal because of our positioning in Christ Jesus! We see suffering with that temporal mindset but to the One Who says a day is as a thousand and a thousand is as a day, knows our afflictions (whatever they may be) are truly momentary.
I recently became burdened for our dear friends of the radio ministry. Mike and Christa Shore. You may know them too from our “Draw Near to the Father’s Heart” Ladies’ Retreats. She will minister shortly for the third time with us. These are folks who have a gifted ministry of music and outreach and they have worked together on many occasions. This precious couple, has been going through some very difficult times that began five years ago when Mike was diagnosed with IPF. With this disease, the lungs are no longer able to perform as they were created to and at this point there are no therapies to halt or reverse the course of IPF. Sadly, about two-thirds of IPF patients die within five years. Currently, the ultimate treatment for IPF is a lung transplant. In January 2009, Mike had a single lung transplant that has taken him just slightly beyond a year. But not without several rejections and now the transplanted lung is threatening to quit working in Mike’s body and his remaining original lung is nearly depleted.
Although this is not necessarily my story to tell, none the less it has moved me to the reality of the two verses above that I have just memorized. It is terribly difficult to look into a situation like Mike and Christa’s and apply an eternal perspective. These are relatively young people and obviously if something cannot be done to remedy Mike’s condition he will not be long for this world.
Paul certainly talks about being torn between living and dying for Christ. In Philippians 1:21 he says, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Anxious to depart and be with Christ which would be the best, yet to serve Him here in the temporary and bring the gospel so that others would also be heaven bound was Paul’s passion.
There most certainly is an advantage to maintaining a heavenly mindset that knows that a day will come--on the other side of our affliction—when we will be ushered into the presence of our Lord and Savior. With eyes fixed on that goal we can endure to the end. And I do not mean to indicate that this truth, as wonderful as it may seem, makes for a smooth road to travel. As believers, we must purpose to forgo allowing our circumstances to press us down. As difficult as it can be for some in situations like Mike Shore’s.
My understanding is that Mike will be top on the list to receive a double lung transplant in April. And my prayer is that it would happen as soon as he is able to receive it. With this life-giving transplant Mike should, Lord willing, have more time with family and loved ones and more time to hopefully minister and win souls for God’s kingdom. Please keep this family in your prayers as you read this.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing ; persecuted, but not forsaken ; struck down, but not destroyed ; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.II Corinthians 4:7-11
Father, we thank you this day for all that you have given us and trust that You are working for us that “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” as you prepare us for that glorious day to come when we will be welcomed into Your presence. Give us the strength to endure to keep pressing on and that we would not forget that our purpose on the face of this earth and in our environment is to glorify You in all that we say and do. I desperately want Paul’s mindset that to live is Christ and to die is gain. Let me be able to make a difference in people’s lives for Christ’s sake. And thank you for people like Mike and Christa who love you so much lives that they live to bring glory to You, leading many too You through their ministry. Provide the needed lungs for Mike quickly Lord, in Jesus Name I ask.