If you’re here, you’re probably a writer, and you know the importance of words. It’s your business to know. If you’re a writer worth your salt, you know how to pick power-packed verbiage to elicit the precise emotion you’re striving to make your reader feel.
In the passage I’ll finish quoting in a bit, the word while brought strong emotion from me. The New King James and the New American Standard versions of the Bible use “while” as the conjunction in the verses, but the NIV and the Holman Christian Standard (the Bible Beth Moore uses for her Children of the Day study of I and II Thessalonians) use “so.” That didn’t work for me. “So” means “therefore.” Not the same thing.
I like “while.” “While” means something is happening at the same time as something else. Simultaneously. Concurrently. And when I first read the two verses, the word beamed like it was plated in pure gold.
Here’s the passage, in the NASB version:
17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen . . .
Same verses in NIV:
17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So [therefore] we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen . . .
Here they are in Holman:
17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So [therefore] we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
and in New King James:
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.
Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Do you see why I love “while” more than “so”?
Well, probably not, because I haven’t given you many hints.
Let me blend the versions, give it a Linda edit, so you can see it the way I do. Maybe it will help:
For our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory WHILE we focus on what is unseen.
Still not clear? Try this: WHILE we focus on the things of God, our troubles are working for us.
Did you see that? In each of the versions of verse 17 above, “troubles” and/or “afflictions” are the subject of the sentence, doing the action seemingly on their own. They’re producing for us an incomparable and eternal weight in glory through no effort of ours. Of course, it isn’t their actions, but God’s rewards, but still, they aren’t our focus, they shouldn’t be the draining use of our energy. Our focus is on the unseen things of God. And while we focus on that, everything else is being handled.
Are you writing in an environment that isn’t as supportive as you’d like? Focus on the unseen–on your calling and your obedience to Him, and while you do that, God will handle the rest.
Are you operating under the fear that you’re not good enough, not ever going to “get it,” or get the agent, publisher, editor–whatever it is you think you want? Is it making you depressed and anxious? Focus on the unseen: God’s ways, His timing, His omniscience, and while you do that, God will handle the rest.
Is your writing at a standstill? Are you unable to give birth to anything creative? Is it tearing your heart to shreds? Focus on God and what He may be telling you. Maybe He has other plans for you, and while you focus on Him and His will, God will give you peace. He’ll handle it.
Focus on the unseen, while your “troubles are achieving an eternal glory.”