Wednesday, August 18th, 2010...8:23 am

The Seen and the Unseen

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A few weeks ago I stood with my mother at Dad’s grave in the city of Winnipeg, Canada. It was the first time I had been back since we buried him there six years ago. My Mom, 83, is still quite active. It meant a lot to share this graveside moment with her, although we both found the experience strangely surreal.

Mom’s words captured it best — “It’s like he’s not here.” Biblically she was right. Dad, who loved Jesus, is more than a decaying body in a cemetery somewhere on the Canadian prairies. He is right now in the presence of God. His new address is Paradise and he is awaiting the actual resurrection of his decaying body. The ultimate triumph of Christ’s cross and empty tomb is the defeat of death itself!

As a pastor I have stood at many gravesides. In those bitingly painful moments I have often observed to grieving families that this is when our faith either means everything or it means nothing. Either we are locked into the temporary dimension of what we can see, or we have a faith that liberates us to walk in the eternal realities of what we cannot see.

Scripture goes to great lengths to describe the difference between what is temporary and what is eternal, and how that difference affects what we focus on. “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.” (II Corinthians 4:18).

Faith always focuses us on the eternal “unseen,” not the temporary “seen.” This, in turn, makes our hope unshakable. Focusing on ever-changing, temporary realities actually enslaves us to those same fickle realities. Hope built on the unseen liberates and stabilizes us. When the eternal defines us we can live with a sustaining hope that brings perspective, comfort, security — and even joy!

“It’s like he’s not here,” Mom said. She was right. So, Lord, lift all of our eyes today to the eternal unseen and a heart-securing, unshakable hope.

1 Comment

  • Thanks, Dr. James for this. It is so right when you said that “grieving families that this is when our faith either means everything or it means nothing.”

    Death has finality to everything but to the believers, death is just the beginning.

    Thanks for the reminder. There really is a big difference between the now and the not yet:)

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