Thursday of Pentecost 3 – II Corinthians 4:13-5:1

13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

1For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

He had been a logger. A large strapping fellow in his prime, his strength and agility had been prized possessions that earned him a good living. He had come to know when a tree was dangerous or when a contrary wind could push a tree in a direction you did not want it to go. He had operated huge machines and took pride in the fact that his work had provided homes for thousands of people. Only the experience and knowledge were left to him now. Age and years of hard labor had rendered him frail and somewhat crippled. His once mighty arms and hands which had grasped tools and manipulated logs were now arthritic husks. Cancer had reduced him, but it had not conquered him. He looked forward, he told me, to the Day (when he said it, you knew it should be capitalized) when he would stand tall and strong again. God had promised him that. He counted on it.

We spoke of the past but in so doing he was also speaking of the future. He remembered jumping from log to log in the mill pond as a young man, imagining himself to be invincible. He laughed about falling in and being hauled out and dressed down by an older cousin who was the foreman. He could have been crushed. We said that death would be like falling into that pond and being hauled out by Jesus.

We looked around his care facility and the sterile, smooth surfaces, so unlike the woods where he made his living. We made room for the CNA’s and nursing staff to attend to him. We listened to the discouraged physician who gave the grim prognosis. They seemed transient to us. Unseen and eternal things were more real for him that day. The eternal weight of glory, beyond all comparison, was his destination. These sufferings and indignities were but preparation. He did not lose heart. We grieved and rejoiced at his funeral. He had a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, to replace this tent which we laid to rest.

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