“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
(this was previously published three years ago on Seriously Write)
I was asked to pick something going on in my life and write about it in a way to encourage others. This really threw me, because how could I pick one from the on-going slew of things life throws at us? A wayward son, cars that break down with no money to even begin to think of replacing them, medical issues that hit the already drained bank account, and then there are the aspects of my much-loved job that I hate and put off until they are stacked neck high and all have looming deadlines and…
I could go on and on.
Some days are overwhelming upon tumbling out of bed in the morning. You have a to-do-list as long as Santa’s Naughty and Nice list, the hits just keep coming, and you don’t know where to start. Except, a good cry sounds like a great beginning—and a necessity. Bring out the chocolate so I can start self-medicating!
And underlying all the tension, the fear, the where-do-I-even-begin is the measure of peace that passes understanding. This too will pass. God is in control. It’s going to be okay. Trust Me.
He is always right, of course. Because whatever we’re facing will pass. God is in control. We can trust Him. And it will eventually be okay.
Most recently, my husband’s car shuddered, shook, and died, right in the middle of a bridge fifty miles away. Every light on the dash lit up. He was on his way to work. He called me, and I might add it’s like 5:45 A.M. My brain is in sleep mode at that hour. Not fully functioning. But we’re both thinking, we are making payments on the new-to-us van that we bought last June when the family vehicle died, deader-than-dead. The garage shook its head and muttered something about there being nothing they could do. How could we pay for another new-to-us vehicle when meeting the van payments every month is an act of faith?
It seemed obvious. We would go down to one vehicle. He’d use mine. I’d be a homebody. So that would work out. Not ideal because my husband didn’t like the idea of me being vehicle-less with five children (most still at home), but it would work out. For now.
The broken-down car was towed off to a garage. Son L (who is also car-less for now) caught rides with friends to and from work since we don’t have an extra vehicle.
Wednesday came. We planned to go look at the cheapie used vehicles (as long as it ran!) but then the small garage where my husband’s car was taken called. The problem isn’t as dire as it could’ve been. God heard our cries, concerns, and prayers and answered with a cheap fix. (We’re still waiting on them to have time to fix it. It’s been four weeks now.) As a wake-up call. Even if it’s just five dollars a week, we need to put something away for a new-to-us car. Because Steve’s car is living on borrowed time. It has over 300,000 miles on it!
While all of this was still whirling in my head, my husband was “nudged” toward a passage in 2 Corinthians (just a coincidence, right? Right!). The apostle Paul is reminding the Corinthian believers of his particular issues. And just for the record – they were a tad more disconcerting than a broken-down vehicle. Think – life and death, persecution, and legalistic adversaries hounding his every step. And yet Paul finds the grace to write these words of comfort – and encouragement.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV)
Our situations don’t define us. The "stuff" that happens to us does not define us. It merely gives us more opportunities to show the amazing grace of our Lord and Savior.
The confidence of knowing God has it gives us an entirely unique perspective, and everything else is colored by that perspective. What the world might consider tragedy, Paul calls "a light affliction" and "a momentary affliction" but it works for us "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
When we look at the tapestry of our life from the human perspective, it's a big ol' tangled mess of knots and snarls and tangles . . . but turn it over, and look at it from God's perspective, and you'll see the intricate patterns and beauty that He is painstakingly weaving into and throughout our lives.
The next time “life happens,” ask yourself . . . “How can I respond to this situation in such a way that it will bring glory to the name of my Heavenly Father?”
This stuff that is happening is temporal – it has a shelf life. “This too shall pass.” It’s going to pass, or we are going to pass. (Mark Lowry / quote)
God is eternal. And what people say about Him matters; both now, and forever.