Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Week Twenty-One - It's Gonna End in Tears

Beside the Well
            I remember the day four colossal cypress trees in our back garden were chopped down.  They had grown taller than the house and were casting such a shadow the grass could not grow, but I loved them!  The final clincher came when the extension on the house began to crack, and the surveyor said it was because the roots from these trees were sucking the moisture out of the ground.
            House or trees? House, I guess, but that didn’t stop my tears, as my beautiful trees lay chopped to pieces in the back garden.
            I was reminded of this tree story as I read a devotional based on 2 Corinthians 4:18.  “for the things which are seen are temporal.” My trees were definitely temporal. It hurt to see them go.  But the writer of the devotion was not worried about my trees.  He had more profound things to consider.
            As he wrote to engage the reader’s thoughts on the things that are temporal, he mentioned these:
            1.  The good things we see are not enough.  They are temporal, for within us is eternity.  All that we see, the beauty around us, the creature comforts we enjoy, our wealth, our poverty, our clothing, food, and possessions, all of it is temporal.  It will all be left behind.  Things and people can never give us the peace and joy we seek in our inner man.  Only God can do that.

            2.  Our trials, tests, and afflictions are temporal. Trials come and trials go. That is the nature of life.  In glory, there will be no trial, no affliction, no more testing.  These things are for this life only.  They are temporal. 
            3. Emotions are temporal.  We change all the time. Joy follows sorrow; fear dashes hope. These spring from what we see around us.  The writer said,  “Great joy is dangerous and deep grief is unnecessary.”  (p 91) Governing our emotions is the key.  Don’t let them get too firm a hold of you.  Tomorrow you will feel different because feelings are temporal.

            4.  Life here, though hard or glorious, is temporal for our hope, and our damnation lies beyond this realm.  “And none can find heaven here.  This is not your rest.  (Read that again.  I love that thought.) Fullness of joy, pleasures forevermore, perfect peace, undisturbed rest—these are not to be derived from things temporal.  All here is transient.” (p 89)  
            It made my heart start singing, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through…”  No matter what my life consists of on earth, it is temporal.  In heaven, I have an eternal inheritance waiting for me (I Peter 1:4).
            If all is temporal, why then do we bother?  I think the answer lies in Ecclesiastes 2:24, “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.  This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”
            Life comes from God.  The beauty around is evidence of His creation.  All we enjoy is from His hand, but when we start to cling to the creation more than the creator, that is when the temporal becomes problematic.
            We will best enjoy life when we hold all things lightly with an attitude of gratitude. Our affections are to be set on things above, not on what we gain in this life.
            “The things that are seen are temporal.”  Oh, if we would write this on our hearts and renew it every time we find ourselves getting attached to temporal things and clinging to or crying over something lost. We can enjoy all God has given when we learn to discern between the temporal and the eternal.  

Westminster Chapel Pulpit, Rev S Martin

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