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. -2 Corinthians 4:18
This scripture passage was part of one of the readings at a funeral that I attended this past weekend. I was struck by the idea of the seen vs. the unseen. We seem so fixated on the material world, the things we can touch, move, taste, see. I mean, even as I write this, I’m sitting in a Starbucks, watching everyone around me sit on laptops and cell phones and take business calls and more. They’re so focused on things that are transient, immaterial in the long run. The outcome of that business call may have short-term effects, but honestly, will it really matter in a year? How about five years? That essay the girl a couple tables over is writing – will it make a big enough difference in her life that she’ll remember it in even six months?
Everything in our world is temporary. Think of it this way: each day, we’re given a new day, and yesterday doesn’t matter and tomorrow doesn’t matter. Any given situation is temporary. Next time you look at a sunrise or sunset, think about how quickly the colors fade and the beauty evaporates into nothing. What is seen is temporary. The traffic jam you’re sitting in is temporary, even though it may feel like it’s slowly draining you of your very will to live. The fight with your significant other, or your friend, or your parent, those are temporary things that can be changed, fixed.
Now, the unseen. What an odd way to put it. Unseen. It’s awkward, it makes it feel like some mystical nonsense from Professor Trelawney teaching Divination at Hogwarts. But really, the unseen is God, it’s Heaven, and most importantly, it’s faith and love. One of the most recognizable quotes about faith is from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Faith is taking the first step, even if you can’t see the whole staircase.” If we understand faith as being willing to take a step into the dark, wouldn’t that be part of the unseen? There is no boundary to faith, just as there is no boundary to God’s love, to love in general. That’s the beauty of love, of God’s love! It’s there for all to take, with no danger of depleting the supply. It is unseen, and it is eternal. Nothing will change that. God is not vengeful, He does not put conditions on His love. It is difficult to understand that, now isn’t it? So many things in our world have conditions on them, often times even love from those close to us can have breaking points. God’s love, the greatest unseen thing, is eternal. It has no beginning and no end, it has no boundaries or conditions, no point that it’s been used up. That’s the beauty of the unseen work, of God – it is truly eternal.