[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39
2 Corinthians 4:8–18
My coworker Tom keeps an 8″ by 12″ glass cross on his desk. His friend Phil, who like Tom is a cancer survivor, gave it to him to help him look at everything “through the cross.” The glass cross is a constant reminder of God’s love and good purposes for him.
That’s a challenging idea for all believers in Jesus, especially during difficult times. It’s much easier to focus on our problems than on God’s love.
The apostle Paul’s life was certainly an example of having a cross-shaped perspective. He described himself in times of suffering as being “persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9). He believed that in the hard times, God is at work, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (vv. 17–18).
To “fix our eyes . . . on what is unseen” doesn’t mean we minimize the problems. Paul Barnett, in his commentary on this passage, explains, “There is to be confidence, based on the certainty of God’s purposes for [us] . . . . On the other hand, there is the sober recognition that we groan with hope mingled with pain.”
Jesus gave His life for us. His love is deep and sacrificial. As we look at life “through the cross,” we see His love and faithfulness. And our trust in Him grows.
Father, teach us who You are. Increase our trust in You. Fill our minds with Your perspective.
Look at everything through the cross.
INSIGHT Through the cross we see God’s loving payment for our sin. But it teaches us more. Jesus’s suffering also exposed the nature and cruelty of our sin against Him and against humanity. He endured the worst we could do to Him to expose Satan’s lie that our Creator isn’t as good as He says He is. He even suffered unimaginable wrongs to show us how to love those who hurt us.
What else does God want to teach us about cross-shaped love and what it can do in us and for others? ... See MoreSee Less
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7
One of the tellers at my bank has a photograph of a Shelby Cobra roadster on his window. (The Cobra is a high-performance automobile built by the Ford Motor Company.)
One day, while transacting business at the bank, I asked him if that was his car. “No,” he replied, “that’s my passion, my reason to get up every morning and go to work. I’m going to own one someday.”
I understand this young man’s passion. A friend of mine owned a Cobra, and I drove it on one occasion! It’s a mean machine! But a Cobra, like everything else in this world, isn’t worth living for. Those who trust in things apart from God “are brought to their knees and fall,” according to the psalmist (Psalm 20:8).
That’s because we were made for God and nothing else will do—a truth we validate in our experience every day: We buy this or that because we think these things will make us happy, but like a child receiving a dozen Christmas presents or more, we ask ourselves, “Is this all?” Something is always missing.
Nothing this world has to offer us—even very good things—fully satisfies us. There is a measure of enjoyment in them, but our happiness soon fades away (1 John 2:17). Indeed, “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself,” C. S. Lewis concluded. “There is no such thing.”
I have found Him whom my soul so long has craved! Jesus satisfies my longings—through His blood I now am saved. Clara Williams
There is a longing in every heart that only Jesus can satisfy.
INSIGHT Psalm 20 warns against idolatry—worshiping and trusting in human objects instead of the Lord Himself. King David saw how easy it could be to shift his trust in the Lord to trust in military might: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (v. 7). In our culture, idolatry can take many different forms. But for the believer there’s only One who should be the object of our adoration and the One in whom we place our trust. It’s Christ who is the supreme example of courage, character, and compassion.
How is God teaching you that He’s the only true source of satisfaction? ... See MoreSee Less