The summer after eighth grade was a life changing one. It was the first summer that I could go to Camp Hickory Hill for a week with my Sunday School friends – Zach and Matt. Camp HH was hidden in the green forests of upstate NY and was a true break from culture and everyday life.
Camp had everything. A fenced off pool down the hill, a small shack like store across a dirt road for ice cream and candy, a rock wall, carpet ball, a fire pit with logs acting as pews surrounding it and lastly a huge field with a flag pole! I couldn’t ask for more. The food was great, the counselors were funny and the days full of surprises and games. Now, I could write 5,000 words about camp and how it was my first camp high or how refreshing and awesome it was, but that isn’t important. What matters is the 10 minutes I spent with my cabin each day memorizing our verse for the week. This is the verse that our cabin had:
” So 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.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
I said this verse throughout the day. While I was walking to lunch, trying to find a walking stick/sword and even in my bunk under my flashlight. I took something that was not mine and made it that.
I had heard of this verse before. I believed it. But when I memorized each word and sentence structure through punctuation, I put it to heart. Memorization is a must. Even when I had doubts or random thoughts come up, this verse would return to the forefront of my mind and would reset my gaze back towards eternity. God’s word shaped my heart and mind not just by reading and knowing truth but by hiding it in my heart so that it could shape my thinking and guide my every action even when my mind was not on God.
This verse tells believers in Christ that even though our body is wasting away, decaying and aging from sin; our pain, suffering, trials and griefs of any circumstance or magnitude are but a brief and light problem when compared to our eternal rewards (an eternal weight of glory, and God himself). Even the most awful circumstances like the loss of all your possessions, cancer, torture, paralyzation, or death of a spouse or child is insignificant in comparison to eternity. Our struggles have a beginning and an end. Therefore, they are infinitely minute when compared to the infinite greatness of eternity and the reward we receive. So we fix our eyes not on the world or this life but on the everlasting, on the only thing that matters and truly satisfies, God.
Because I memorized 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 when I was young, it hasn’t left me and has shaped my perceptions of importance and value as it relates to God.