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What Lasts Forever

by | Jun 4, 2024 | Focus, New Life

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

(2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1 ESV)

I have crow’s feet now. The skin on the back of my hands is getting wrinkly. Apparently, this is the year when my body has decided it’s getting old.

And it’s not just the natural signs of aging. There are the changes I’ve brought about myself, through my own choices. I have any number of scars that weren’t there when I was born. Plastic has replaced the natural eye lenses I was born with. There’s a deep groove in my finger where my wedding ring sits.

Truly, “our outer self is wasting away,” just as Paul said. And for him and many other Christians, the “wasting away” is accelerated by the suffering they bear for Jesus’ sake. For Paul that meant hunger, beatings, prison, and three shipwrecks; for me, well, do those crows’ feet come from all the paperwork I’ve squinted at to help people over the years? Maybe. (It’s not quite on the same level, is it!)

And so now I face a choice. I can look backward, toward my youth, and try to stave off the inevitable. Or I can look forward—to what?

To Jesus. I am looking to Jesus, to the One who stands at the end of our race, beckoning toward us, saying to us, “Come to Me!” I want to keep running my race as Paul did, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14 ESV).

Jesus is the joy set before us, what keeps us running when we feel like we have nothing left to give. When we look to Him, what do we see? Only the One who loves us so much He was born into our world to become our Savior, experiencing the same joys and griefs that we have. Only the One who lay down His life for us on the cross so that He could set us free from sin and death, and bring us back to God the Father in joy and peace.

Now, as we look ahead, we look to Jesus, who has already died and risen again before us—and who promises to share that golden gift with us. We too will rise from the dead one day—life and health and strength all restored, body and soul together. Jesus will call us, and we will answer—swift as eagles, happy as children let out of school. And we will be with Him forever.

We Pray: Dearest Lord, keep my eyes fixed on You. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on June 05, 2024
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. Where are you at in life—just starting out? In the full strength and busy-ness of middle age? Starting to slow toward the end?
2. How do you depend on the Lord for the challenges you face in your time of life?
3. What do you look forward to most about rising from the dead and being with Jesus?