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October 14, 2023 - 2 Corinthians 4

In September 2019, I led a team of teachers to Yangon, Myanmar where we taught classes in three different institutions. The team gathered on Tuesday evening, after class, at a golf driving range, supper at a Thai restaurant, and time with Gems (Maung Maung Thant) and his family. Donna and I had met Gems a year previously when he translated for me as I taught from the book of Psalms at a church in Bagan. What a sweet and dear and faithful brother was Gems who has now passed away at age 55 from stomach cancer. We received that news just last evening. And while our hearts are heavy, what joy is ours to know the Gems is with the Lord and has heard the words “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21).

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul wrote, “We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (4:16-18). Gems has believed this in this life; now, he sees with his eyes!

O could our thoughts and wishes fly

Above these gloomy shades,

To those bright worlds beyond the sky,

Which sorrow ne'er invades!

There joys unseen by mortal eyes,

Or reason’s feeble ray,

In ever blooming prospects rise,

Unconscious of decay. --Anne Steele (1799)

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