I was reading 2 Corinthians 4 today. Some of it wasn’t very pretty… How about this? “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (verse 1) We don’t lose heart? Yeah, right. I know this ministry is through God’s mercy, but I have lost heart. I’m discouraged. I’m tired. I’m ready to quit. Why is it that knowing this ministry—these boys, the special needs, the homeschooling—is through God’s mercy doesn’t seem to help? Epic fail, and I’m only at verse 1.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (verse 7) Uh huh. Treasures. What treasures? I sure don’t feel like a treasure, and I’m fairly certain that I am nowhere near as strong as a jar of clay. And them? Today has not been a day that makes me think of them as treasures. Frankly, most of the week has been like this. All-surpassing power? What all-surpassing power? I’ve been so focused on the basics of survival that I can’t seem to see God’s power. Maybe it’s time to quit looking at them and start looking at Him…
“Therefore we do not lose heart.” (verse 16a) Who am I kidding? I’ve lost heart. Entirely. It’s gone. I’m done with this. I can’t any more, God. It’s too hard. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (verse 17) Light and momentary? It sure doesn’t feel light and momentary. It’s heavy and all-consuming, and it feels like there are very few answers to all the questions. Moderately severe hearing loss. Apraxia. Cleft lip and palate. Vestibular defect. Auditory processing dysfunction. All those pieces add up to one huge, complex, sometimes overwhelming trouble. And then there’s the other one, the child who has night terrors most nights, who hasn’t slept through the night by himself but maybe a dozen times since he came home almost 6 years ago. Afraid of the dark, terrified of being abandoned again, nighttime is crazy scary. Some days are better, but I still spend most nights in his room…sharing his double bed so we get something that resembles sleep. It gets old. I get tired. And it makes everything seem even more overwhelming, less light and momentary.
Then, at the end, there’s hope. Verse 18…”So 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.” This stuff, the overwhelming everyday stuff of life…that’s the seen. I can’t focus on it. I have to keep my focus on what I know to be true instead of what I see every day. And what is it that I know? I know that these two boys are a blessing. That their presence in our lives is a gift. That they are stretching us in ways we never dreamed of. We’ve learned things we didn’t know we needed to know, things we didn’t care about before. We’ve become fairly good at advocating to meet their needs. We’ve been humbled as we are now parenting a child for whom none of our ‘tried-and-true’ parenting methods work. We are reminded daily to stop and smell the roses. We see clearly that life goes by too quickly, that we need to be purposeful and deliberate about the things we do. And we need to stress less and enjoy more.
Tonight, I’m pondering the end of 2 Corinthians 4. My head knows that it is through God’s mercy I have this ministry, these boys. My heart needs to remember that. My heart needs to focus on His blessing, His strength. I need to fix my eyes on the unseen, on the author and the finisher of my faith (Heb 12:2). And when I do, then I enjoy this adventure.
After all, as a friend so aptly stated, “Life is an adventure in itself, so we might as well hang on for the ride and make the most of it.” Good plan. :)