Daily Devotion, 04/21/2018, “Take the Long Look”
“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT
Viktor Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist who spent three years in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. During his time there, he took note of the difference between how some prisoners coped with prison as opposed to others. Some quickly succumbed to feelings of hopelessness and died. Others maintained a resilience that helped them endure the harsh conditions of their imprisonment. He chronicled this observation in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” One of the characteristics he noticed in the survivors was that they focused their attention on the future rather than the present. Those who focused on their pain, their deplorable conditions and their horrible treatment by the guards gave up relatively quickly. The survivors kept their focus on the better days they hoped and dreamed would come. Viktor himself repeatedly envisioned himself speaking to audiences of people, sharing his discoveries and giving hope to those in dire places. It was his focus on that future day of giving hope that gave him the strength he needed to endure the horrific day he was in.
The Apostle Paul was no stranger to setbacks, struggles and difficult times. He was beaten, stoned, flogged, whipped, driven out of town, and shipwrecked. A lesser man would have thrown in the towel but not Paul. In the midst of all he was going through, Paul had his eyes set on what was to come. He envisioned a day when the church would thrive. He envisioned a day when the gospel would prevail. He envisioned a day when he would no longer be bound by this world and all its trouble. He made his preferred future the focus of his thoughts. That future focus helped him get through his painful present.
That’s a great lesson for us. It’s easy to be consumed in the hopelessness of today. Today may be dark, foreboding and filled with pain, sorrow and sadness. If you focus on today, you will lose hope. Remember that today is just a season. It won’t last forever. Another day is on its way, a better day, a day of healing, a day of wholeness, a day of victory. That’s the day you have to focus on. Focusing on that day will give you hope, purpose and meaning. Take the long look. Focus on what you can’t see. You are loved!