The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, July 28th comes to us from Alexander Holcomb of Tennessee.
2 Corinthians 4:13-18 NRSV 13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—”I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 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.
When I was in college, I worked at a beautiful summer camp far away from home. I had no time off, except for one week halfway through the summer. Like most of my fellow counselors, I planned to stay on at the camp during that week so we could enjoy having the place to ourselves. One day, though, I felt the Lord urging me to visit my family; while I wrestled with it at first, I finally decided to go. As I was trying to leave, my car broke down. Distraught because I was having to disappoint my family, I began to question why God would lead me to do something I couldn’t do. Had I misheard God? When one of my fellow camp counselors offered to let me drive his car the hundreds of miles it would take me to go home and back, I was amazed at his generosity. In the midst of my surprise and joy at his offer, I remembered the way I had questioned God’s faithfulness. In that moment, I learned that if god leads us to do something, God will also provide us the means to do it. Now, whenever I start to get frustrated when life unfolds in a way I don’t expect, I think of that day and watch for the way God will work within my circumstances to bring about good.
Prayer: Dear God, calm our minds and hearts with knowledge that you are always present with us. Amen.
– Alexander Holcomb
Things will not always go the way we planned, but they will always offer us a chance to experience the grace of God. Our faith does not grow without undergoing a refinement process, often requiring us to be steadfast in spite of our circumstances. Paul writes to the church of Corinth, urging them not to become consumed with their “momentary affliction,” as they are being prepared for eternal glory. As we continue to see and hear of persons who refuse to adhere to Covid-19 safety recommendations, let us be mindful of Paul’s words: Our temporary discomfort is a gift of compassion for the health and safety of others.