Daily Devotion - Thursday, March 3, 2016
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
There is this lady that I know who is in her eighties, and who likes to party. Seriously, I see her at every community event that I have ever been to in South Lake County--Chamber of Commerce galas, Education Foundation dinners, Hospice fundraisers, you name it. If there is an event, you'll find this lady there wandering around with a drink in her hand and a smile on her face.
And every time I see her she is dressed in the most funky outfits. She wears outlandish hats, broaches that are glittery and too large, and some of the craziest shoes you've ever seen. She's always surrounded by admirers, who find themselves feeling a bit lighter around her, and grinning ear to ear as they listen to her gush about the event, exchange a bit of gossip and generally hold court.
This lady is tiny, and frail. Each time I see her she seems just a little smaller, a little thinner, but there is something about her that transcends all of her frailty. Have you ever known someone like that? Someone who has an inner light--the kind of joy of living that just exudes into everything they do and say? Those kind of people might get older, but they don't get older, if you know what I mean.
The Apostle Paul confronts his own mortality in his second letter to the church at Corinth, and he reframes it in light of the Resurrection of Jesus. He writes, "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." You see, Paul had internalized the hope of the Resurrection of Jesus, and it changed everything. He had discovered a joy that could not be taken from him. He realized a hope that could not be shaken.
What Paul knew was that because Jesus had been raised from the dead, Sin and Death had been defeated, and he no longer had to live in fear and dread of the grave. Even though he might be growing frail on the outside, the eternal hope of the Resurrection was growing ever-stronger inside of him. And the joy that he felt as a result was contagious, and life-giving.
When we fully embrace the hope of the Resurrection... When we allow the joy of eternal life to wash over us... When we let go of fear, and stop living in dread... we suddenly find that even though our bodies might be growing more and more frail, our spirits are growing stronger by the minute, and the inner light of the Risen Christ can't be contained within them.
May you discover joy today that defies time and earthly categories of age. May you be surprised by the hope that comes from letting go of your fears, anxieties, and the worries that fill you with dread. May you be filled with the inner light of Christ, and may it shine brightly so that everyone you come in contact with today can see the world differently. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.