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Look Beyond by Craig Callon

Dear friends and family,

Today we wanted to share a message from one of our dear friends, Craig Callon. He is a graduate from Dallas Theological Seminary and was a professional educator for ten years. Craig currently works as a financial advisor and lives in Plano, TX with his wife Cheryl and daughter Vera. His message is as follows:

 

Look beyond.

As a result of the calamity that has been the first half of 2020, I was asked to write an encouraging piece, proving once again that God has an ironic sense of humor. My own life has been a recent series of calamities, such that Jesus might well have asked one of the disciples to pause bailing water during the storm to cheer to his fellow storm-wracked shipmates. Discouragement is easy when dark waves assail us from all sides, and we know that our own efforts pale before the forces against us. The only word I can give you is to look beyond.

 

This often seems a pitiful platitude to we living in a culture and a church that so often worships God like we would a vending machine. If I pray harder, read my Bible more, give more to my church–if I just DO more–then God will fix my marriage, heal my child, land me that job, or serve me however I desire. The falsehood is that we can control God through our sacrifices, and this is a false encouragement. God does not promise you smooth sailing. A cursory look at his closest followers, or indeed at Christ himself, puts the lie to that.

 

The encouragement is to look beyond. God can, and often will, address our earthly concerns, though seldom in the time or fashion we would prefer. If our hope is based on their fulfillment, we would be an impoverished people. God will not spare us trouble, but He will redeem that trouble to make us more like His Son. Our home and our kingdom are not of this earth, and we must look beyond this earth to find what we hope for. In all things Christ is our leader. As he suffered, we will suffer. As he died, we will die. As he was resurrected in glory, we too shall be resurrected in glory.

Christ endured when nobody was left to encourage him, when he had every reason in the world to despair. He could have ended that suffering at any moment, an escape any of us would gladly have taken. But he endured. He endured because he had his eyes fixed beyond (Heb. 12:2-3). He knew that his suffering meant something, was worth something, and that God would redeem it and glorify it to something far greater.

 

As his followers, we too must endure. He has promised us his strength and his presence such that he is always with us (Matt. 8:20). We are struck down, but not destroyed (2 Cor. 4:7-12). We are faced with viruses, riots, personal challenges, marital struggles, economic uncertainty, and murder hornets, but still God is faithful to us.

Allow me to conclude with Paul’s words in the same chapter, 2 Corinthians 4:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  18 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.

May God bless us to look beyond!

 

 

 

 

We love to hear your stories. If you have a story where the resources of Blended Together Forever has helped you, a member of your family, a family in you community, we would love to hear it. Send us a note to info@blendedtogether.org

 

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