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unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but
the things that are unseen are eternal” (4: 18).
This is how, by grace, the God of grace supernaturalizes the natural, bodily, mortal life of all who through
faith are in Christ, united
to him by the Holy Spirit
for endless power and joy.
God-taught hoping leads
to God-given strengthening. When, humanly, we are weak, then in the Lord
we are strong. So it was for the apostles and their colleagues two millennia ago, and so it can and should be
today for you and me.
What is it, then, that we have to look forward to?
Second Corinthians 5:1– 8 sets before us in picture language that aspect of our hope which will counter, cancel,
and consign to far-off memory “this light momentary
affliction” – bad health, crippled limbs, bodily pains;
minds, memories, relationships, personal circumstances
all going downhill; insults, cruelties, and whatever else.
This hope fills us with wondering joy that everything can be so good. We shall be given a new dwelling
place, says Paul, new clothes, and a new home life in
the company of our Lord. It sounds marvelous, and so
indeed it is.
None of us knows as yet what it will be like, experi-
entially, to leave this world. But one day we shall all
have to do that, and it is wonderful to know that some-
where in the process of transition out of the body into
the next world, Christ himself will meet us, so that we
may expect his face to be
the first thing we become
aware of in that new order
of life into which we will
Looking forward to this is the hope that will sustain
us, as evidently it sustained Paul, while we grow older
and our weaknesses, limitations, and thorns in the flesh
increase. “So we are always of good courage” ( 2 Cor. 5: 6).
May it ever be so. FT
Through a special arrangement, the complete book
Weakness Is the Way is available free with each new
subscription to Faith Today purchased in January and
February 2014. Visit www.faithtoday.ca/subscriptions
or call 1-866-302-3362.
J. I. PaCKer is the board of governors’ professor of
theology at regent College in Vancouver, B.C. This essay adapted from Weakness Is the Way by J. I. Packer,
©2013. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good news Publishers ( www.crossway.org).
When I am weak, then
I am strong.