“Therefore, we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
There is a story of a man who was given a large task to complete by his master. The task was to push against an enormous rock and to not to let up. The man left to his assignment with this boulder proceeded to push and to push. The seasons came and went and then the years rolled on from one year to another. The man kept pushing against the rock persistently, tearfully and courageously.
Then one day the master returned. The man looked to the ground when he saw his master and was not able to lift his head and look him in the eye. “I have utterly failed you, my master. I have pushed and pushed against this rock with no success. I have no results to show for it. I am so sorry.”
But the master just smiled, reached out and lifted the man’s head and looked him in the eye. No, Friend you have not failed at all. Look at me. You are not the same person that I left here. Look at your arms, shoulders, legs, and chest. More importantly, look at your persevering character and that strength you have gained on the inside. That is of great value to Me, and you will be given much honor, privilege and entrusted responsibility in my forever expanding realm. Yes, your whole being has been strengthened by you remaining faithful to your task this whole time. I never said that you needed to move it, just push against it. And you did! It has had its effect upon you that I intended. That was my goal for you all along, but you had to cooperate by not giving up too soon.
This little story was shared with me by my Hawaiian friend, Glenn, in Bellingham when I was going through the darkest of times at Over Easy Restaurant (it seemed never to be “over” and was never “easy.”) I really did enjoy much of the adventure there but a lot of it seemed like I was pushing against a big rock as was the man in the story. I met with Glenn for a weekly men’s Bible study at the restaurant. He was using the story to encourage me as Christian brothers are called to do for one another. (Hebrews 10:24-25) This little parable really spoke encouragement to my soul.
Through the years I have had the privilege of mentoring, or just walking along side friends who go through things in their lives. I see them like the man in the parable story, pushing against “boulders” in their way. What the big rocks are varies greatly. It may be a marriage that never improves, doesn’t bring the peace or happiness as they had been hoped for at its beginning. It could be a wayward “prodigal” adult son or daughter who shows no signs of ever coming “home” to God the Father. For others it is a chronic health situation that doesn’t improve. For others it is a financial need that seems hopeless to meet and for others it can be a work or business crisis that goes on for years. These are all “big rocks” that never seem to budge for those pushing against them.
The good news that this parable teaches is that we have a Master, a heavenly Father who is not concerned with “success,” outward or tangible result as we are. These are all the things that are “seen and temporal.” He is all about working within us the character qualities that are “unseen and eternal.” He is using everything His children experience to prepare us for our forever home. What is visible now (buildings, businesses, organizations, money, fame, achievements etc.) will disappear and become forever invisible. And what is invisible now (our character, people we have loved, simple acts of kindness etc.) will become eternally visible.
Thank you, Lord, that you are doing unseen, eternal things in your children. Forgive us for only looking at the scene and the temporal. You are doing something so much greater than we can ever see in this life but will see and rejoice over in the life to come.
Note: I would like to recommend “Don’t Waste Your Sorrows” by the late Paul Billheimer that can be picked up on Amazon used for about $5.
Written by Jamie Bohnett. Contact the Author: firstname.lastname@example.org