TODAY’S SCRIPTURE 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Distractions are dangerous. In some cases, distractions can be deadly. Every year, numerous billboards and ad campaigns remind drivers not to text while behind the wheel. Many automobile accidents have occurred because drivers are distracted by texting. Whether we are waiting on an important message or simply allowing curiosity to get the best of us, it is tempting to avert our eyes from the road to check an incoming text. Yet we understand that pain, or even death, can result from distracted driving.

Distracted living can also be dangerous. When Paul writes to the church at Corinth, he tells them to keep their focus in the right place. He wants them to focus on things they could not see rather than things they could see. He describes the outer-self wasting away that can be tremendously challenging to a Christian’s faith. When we experience pain, it can seem like nothing else matters.

Paul certainly understands what it is like to deal with pain. Later, in chapter 11, he will list some of the trials he experiences as an apostle, such as imprisonments, beatings, and even shipwrecks. He describes hardships, sleepless nights, hunger, thirst, cold, and exposure, all for the sake of serving God. It would have been easy for Paul to allow these challenges to blind him to his purpose in serving God, but Paul understands something. He understands that the lashes of a whip could hurt his outer self, but his inward self would remain untouched. He is focused on what would last.

One challenge we face with suffering is looking past something painful to focus on what is eternal. That doesn’t make our suffering any less painful, just as Paul’s faith didn’t make his beatings pleasant to endure. Yet if we maintain our focus on what is eternal, our pain won’t distract us from living for God. It will simply remind us of the blessing of eternity.

Today, I will…reflect on the challenges I face today and renew my determination to focus on what is eternal.