2 Corinthians 4 v 16 - 18

It is hard to absorb that Paul could dash off such a passage as this one! However, when other great writers such as Dostoevsky are compared-who was a gambler and wrote on deadline night for money and yet wrote some of the most profound, searching novels-then one can begin to understand that 'necessity is the mother of invention'!

What Paul states in verse 16 is applicable, hopefully, to all Christian bodies: that, as we get older and our bodies get problems that we find difficult or impossible to recover from, then our spirits continue to grow and to be refreshed. Possible never greater is the dichotomy expressed than when an elderly lady, struggles to get around, but her spirit gives her a sense of childlike wonder in the world-such was Edna.

How does the believer surmount all the problems that come his or her way-not just those which everyone faces, but spiritual battles too? Paul encourages Christians to fix their thoughts firmly on how it will be compared to how it is now. Interestingly, we noted elsewhere that Paul maintained a strong understanding of who he was before he met Jesus-'the chief of sinners' he called himself-and, enhanced by his visions of seventh heaven-a profound image of how things will be.

'The visible is temporal, the invisible is eternal!' Paul declares. He encourages us to see and take hold of a world beyond ours. I would state categorically that every Christian automatically accepts the supernatural- please say if you disagree. We have taken on board that this world is not all that there is and that there are other plains of existence. I often call on someone's guardian angel to assist them when it appears that they may be trapped.

Paul also reminds the believers that our present troubles are far outweighed by the glories of eternity. They are temporary, but what Christians are being prepared for is an endless communion with God! Let me emphasise here that this doesn't mean that we concentrate our energies on eternity and remove ourselves from daily life! Did Paul or Peter or even Jesus do that!? No, we are called to live for God in the here and now, the challenges of the daily commute, the ups and downs of office life, the building ourselves a home and family. BUT, always in our heart, at the centre of it, we are to listen to the voice of Jesus.

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