The parade of time does take from us, but it ushers in great gains as well. We are more than a body. We are souls. Time does not have the same detracting effect upon our inside as it does our outside. Listen to God via Paul’s quill, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV). We have treasure in a fragile jar. The currents of time may cause physical injury or remind us of mortality, but Paul is adamant. Do not lose heart! The graph of our bodies and the graph of our souls point in opposite directions. Our bodies waste. Our souls are renewed daily.
If we review Paul’s thought in this passage, we will hear a repeated theme of glory. God is changing us “from glory to glory.” Eternity hold for us a “weight of glory,” which shrinks our current losses to puny potatoes. Paul does not ignore the impact of change in our lives. But he does make a fuller calculation. Our bodies are diminished to the point of death. The daily nourishment of grace to our souls overshadows that loss. Glory illuminates darkness. Life speaks to the final word to death.
All of this is theology. Good theology, but it tends to stay in our heads. What practical difference does it make when I confront living changes? Sickness. Aging. Moving. Losing. Injury. Abandonment. Death. How does this truth equip me to navigate the gains and losses of change in my life? Here is a quartet to lend song in the midst of change. We will need all four to achieve harmony.
I can revisit my own values. Holding on to superficial values enlarges my sense of loss through change. If I am bent out of shape about my hair loss more than my prayer loss, my balance may be out of kilter.
I can recognize that God is always at work for me. Change does not catch God off guard. In fact, He employs the changes of life to shape my soul. It’s one of His favourite tools. Looking beneath the surface of change will reveal God at work.
I can be assured by the generosity of God. Here is an unshakable fact: God does not take. He gives. Even temporary losses are building blocks for something good added to our living.
I can live in the hope of the end of change. Change is a factor of time. We are headed to an eternal destiny where time ends and so does change. Perfection will not permit gains or losses. The body, which has suffered so much weakness, will be raised to incorruption. Our souls, shaped by daily renewal, will be perfected beyond the effect of change.