Looking For The EternalJon Burgess
17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Perspective. That's what the Apostle had. Perspective like Paul's can only come from an eye thats been trained to look through the temporal to the eternal. This sounds mystical, but it's actually quite grounded and is where the "rubber meets the road" in the Christian faith. We are, all of us, surrounded by trials and trouble, pain and panic and each of us have to decide what we will focus on while walking through it. That's right! We don't get to skip the hard stuff just because we are people of faith. No, we simply face the hard stuff by seeking the face of the One who walks us through it until we reach the other side!
What if we can't see God though? What if our trouble is so much more tangible then The Trinity? How do we focus on the eternal when we're getting slapped in the face and kicked in the gut by the temporal impossbilities around us? That's exactly how I felt last night as I sat at a dead stop on the H1 freeway that should have been wide open at that time of night. While I stared at a sea of tail lights and traffic lines my son Aden was writhing and crying in pain in the back seat of my truck. Earlier that evening, shortly after dinner, he and his other brothers had been playing. Aden was climbing a metal pole in the back yard and slipped and impaled his leg just above the knee cap. We had no idea of the extent of the damage but it looked bad, so we rushed him to the Kapiaolani Emergency room. Well, we started out rushing until we hit the freeway. What should have taken us a few minutes would end up taking us almost 45 minutes. Every minute felt like an eternity. I wanted to scream outside of my window and tell these cars to get out of the way. Couldn't they see that my son was in serious pain? Of course they couldn't... but there was One who could! Instead of sitting there stewing in the agonizing scenario, Cyndi and I prayed. When we couldn't think of what else to pray we prayed in the Spirit. Cyndi texted friends and family and asked them to pray as I found side streets that would take me to the hospital. It turns out there was a massive accident on the freeway and so no one would be going any where for quite some time. Thankfully, we were able to find a back route and get Aden to the Emergency room and into surgery within the hour. As they were about to put him under anesthesia and roll him into the operating room I prayed for him. I looked him the eyes and told him, "Mom and I can't go in there with You, but Jesus is always with you. You aren't alone. You belong to Him." Aden emerged 45 minutes later with minimal tissue and muscle damage and a whole lot of stiches. The truth is that life is filled with these impossibly painful scenarios. When we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place we have to choose to stand on The Rock and find our Hiding Place in Him! Whether it was the traffic that would not budge or the surgery room I wasn't allowed to enter I had the choice to focus on the temporal (that which I feel I should control) or the eternal (that which only God can control). Through prayer we invite the eternal reality of God to enter the temporal reality of our pain. I realized through all of this that when Paul is describing his situation as "light and momentary troubles" he's not living in denial of the hardships of life but rather in dependence on the source of all life! God changes our perspective in the middle of the pain when we stop trying change what's going on around us and we let Him change what's going on inside of us.
So many things to thank you for today Lord! Thank You that Elijah was there to help Aden off the pole before it got worse. Thank You that he didn't hit any major arteries or cause any major damage to his muscles. Thank You for the doctors, nurses, support staff who worked so quickly and carefully for our sons wellbeing. Thank You for Ross and Stef Anderson that brought us Starbucks and waited and prayed with us while Aden was in surgery. Thank you for the many friends and family who covered this whole ordeal in prayer. You have surrounded us with an army of people who invited your eternal power into our temporal pain! You truly do see us through! My prayer is that I would see You more often then I do! I will fix, I will train my eyes to see what You are doing in the middle of what is being done to me!