"So we fix our [spiritual] eyes not on what is seen [with our physical eyes], but on what is unseen [invisible to the human eye], since what is seen [with the naked eye] is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18
"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
Nothing puts us so intimately in touch with unseen realities as the death of a loved one. Dennis' death nearly six months ago has gently skewed my perspective toward heaven. That's one of the many good things God has brought out of this great grief He has allowed into my life.
When our physical lives go on uninterrupted, day after day, it's easy to lose sight of what is ultimately real. We become so focused on the present moment in our own small corner of the universe that we forget how small a sphere that blip on the radar screen really is. It seems like the whole universe to us, but it's not. And coming to terms with this reality is the only way to peace and joy while we're making our way through this temporary, alien world. It's the only way to experience the life we were created to enjoy.
While Dennis was dying, my friend Sharon was facing her own mortality. She has battled cancer and won, for the time being. But she now lives with the side effects of her treatments and the realization that the cancer might come back. Her perspective on ultimate reality has been an inspiration to me.
She says, If I look at my life and everything that happens with my lens focused too closely, it is easy to despair. But when I step back, refocus, and look at it in the context of Scripture, of who I am in Christ and His promise that I will share in His inheritance and be with Him eternally, these other things become so small and temporal in comparison.
What I mean to say is that the outcome is the same--my physical body will one day give out. Whether that happens a year from now or 40 years from now, I am still going to a glorious eternal life! Makes me wonder why we fight so hard to stay here (like the Israelites kept looking back to Egypt, rather than go on joyfully to the promised land).
My friend no longer lives for her life down here. She realizes there is a better one ahead, and that reality shines out through her broken body with a clear, eternal light.
In February I wrote about our pilgrimage through the Valley of Baca. My friend is on that pilgrimage and she has turned the Valley of Baca into a place of springs. She is going from strength to strength, and strengthening other pilgrims on the way, because she is looking at the invisible.
If I had to choose one daily devotional to subscribe to it would be the one provided by Open Doors, the ministry organization that cares for persecuted Christians around the world. Every day's message is a refreshing spring to my spirit, and a challenge to remember to look, every day, at the invisible.