“Seeing the Unseen”
July 12, 2016
A bike ride along the south rim of the Grand Canyon
Photo by a kind stranger, not a selfie!
Please note: Today I (Stephen) am in Phoenix, Arizona at a chaplain conference which concludes tomorrow. This afternoon I will lead a workshop on corporate chaplaincy.* It has been relatively hot. My car thermometer showed 119 degrees yesterday afternoon. They say it’s not as bad because it’s “dry heat” but it still felt very hot to me. I will be returning home Thursday morning. Although Brooksyne is not with me on this trip she is still collaborating in preparing these messages using Dropbox. A greater than usual amount of typos is likely my responsibility since I am doing the final edits and adding material on the fly!
Message Summary: All that we see with the visible eye is temporary. Let us fix our eyes on the unseen, which includes an eternal glory that far outweighs the visible trials on this side. When we fully embrace this perspective it will make our troubles seem very light and momentary. But if we fail to do so the trials of life will rob us of the wellspring of joy that Jesus gives to each believer to help us endure, overcome, and triumph on our foes. To keep the eternal perspective we must remember to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
Note: Podcast not prepared for this message
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
We have been to the Grand Canyon several times, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon that is, a beautiful canyon in northern Pennsylvania (left). Last year we pedaled over 40 scenic miles on our bikes through the canyon along Pine Creek.
But last week I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time in my life. (I guess I can check that off my “bucket list”.) Of course I knew it was immense since I had seen many photos and examined it in one of my favorite hobbies, exploring using Google Earth. But actually seeing it is different. I’ll share several photos I took today but the best photos are abundant on the web using better equipment, skills and lighting conditions.* But no photo really begins to capture the immensity and grandeur of actually being there. In fact you only see a small part of the canyon from any viewpoint.
That’s similar to our comprehension of heaven. We may consider the very best or very biggest in this world and realize it’s a lot bigger and better than that. But even that’s woefully inadequate.
In the daily text Paul calls us to focus on the unseen. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.” Fixing our eyes in this manner requires concentration and focus. It means to “fix one’s gaze upon, to concentrate one’s attention on.” Physically our eyes observe what is seen but Paul is referring to our spiritual eyes here, a focus on the unseen, eternal Kingdom that awaits all who follow Christ.
“For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” What we now see with our physical sight is extremely limited and temporary. Only God who created and oversees the entire universe is stable and unchanging. The Greek word used here for “temporary” (proskairos) indicates the contrast between the temporal, which is also indefinite and the eternal, which is definite.
Today I urge you to focus your heart on the One of whom we sing, “Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not, as Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be”. Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. In the midst of any challenges you face on this day view them not just with a temporal viewpoint but from an eternal perspective.
I am especially aware of readers who are going through difficult times as they read this. The immediate preceding verse declares, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17). May God’s Word bring assurance and confident faith, particularly in these enduring trials.
Remember all that we see with the visible eye is temporary. Let us fix our eyes on the unseen, which includes an eternal glory that far outweighs the visible trials on this side. When we fully embrace this perspective it will make our troubles seem very light and momentary. But if we fail to do so the trials of life will rob us of the wellspring of joy that Jesus gives to each believer to help us endure, overcome, and triumph on our foes. To keep the eternal perspective we must remember to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: In the maze of life’s events where we’re often a passenger on the rollercoaster of life’s ups and downs, may we never lose sight of You, Jesus. You are the unseen but ever-present Shepherd who protects, guides and tenderly comforts us in all our trouble. Thank You, Lord, that when change is constantly about us, You remain steadfast, faithful, and dependable. You are the Anchor that keeps us grounded in the unseen but eternal truths we build our lives upon. Keep us faithful and help us to fix our eyes on the unseen as we await that glad day when our faith will be rewarded with the visible, eternal blessings You have stored up for those who believe. Amen.
One of the disquieting features for me concerning our visit was the people standing right on the edge. I don’t have a fear of heights as I can be in a tall building, on a mountain or in an airplane. I have a very rational fear of edges, especially when people are standing at the edge of a deep canyon!
Several Chaplaincy Conference photos
One of our main speakers has been Dick Foth who is a master storyteller. He spoke on “The Power Of A Child” and “The Power of a Friend” Here is a message similar to one he shared at the conference titled “Love Everywhere” Video
Carlos Evans who became a triple amputee due to an IED injury in Afghanistan shared his powerful testimony. He is now a licensed minister and serving as an evangelist. Here’s a short video clip: “Veteran Says He Doesn’t Need Feet to Walk with Purpose” Video
* For anyone who may be interested here is a pdf of the presentation I will be making at the chaplain’s conference.
“How Big Is God?” Video Big John Hall (He’s been around a long time since he was popular while we were in Bible College visiting our chapel services)
“How Great Thou Art” Video
“Good, Good Father” Video Casting Crowns
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