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Saturday, April 16, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

Tossing and turning. Praying and wondering.
You might let out a deep breath and ask, "What is going on? Where are you, God?"
Maybe you are faced with another difficult circumstance and don't understand why this is continually happening. Perhaps someone insulted you, and you did nothing to deserve the verbal bashing. Or everything you have attempted to do has seemed to go terribly wrong.
Our journey through life is always filled with unexpected challenges. The path is never easy. The climb can be rugged. And now and then, we will all encounter struggles.
But do not give way to discouragement and anxiety. Refuse to let negative thoughts or offenses committed against you, play over and over taking up space in your mind. Or do not allow unforeseen circumstances that are out of your control determine your joy for the day and your great plans for the future.
Remember, with God, all things are possible, even during a moment in time when your hopes and dreams for your life seem distant. Your present condition is not permanent. This season of affliction is temporary. Setbacks are surmountable. And your problems will be resolved successfully.
Keep your trust in God and think of yourself at the entrance of a door that has within it new blessings, new opportunities and new joys. Take a step ahead, advancing fearlessly and bravely. You will get through these times, as a whole splendid, new life lies before you. God's unchanging and gracious hand will work your situation out, even better than you can ever imagine.
Some time ago, I was talking to a friend who, years before, went through a tough divorce. She described to me how her abusive ex-husband left her and her two young children with a house in foreclosure, thousands of dollars of debt,  no insurance. And she was only earning a small amount at her part-time job. It was the most difficult time in her life.
Looking at my kind, giving, and composed friend, who today has a happy marriage, well-adjusted children, a lovely home and a successful career, it was hard to imagine that she encountered such hard times.
"How did you get through that season in your life?" I inquired.
She was silent for a moment. Then, she leaned toward me, as if she were telling me a secret and said, "When I was in a pool of self-pity and disturbing images entered my mind trying to consume me, I'd stop and read an old poem that my grandmother once gave to me."
I questioned, "What was the poem?"
She smiled and said, "It is titled: 'This too shall pass.'"
She reached for a frame and gently handed it to me.
I read the encouraging poem, by Helen Steiner Rice:
"If I can endure for this minute
Whatever is happening to me,
No matter how heavy my heart is
Or how dark the moment may be —
If I can remain calm and quiet
With all the world crashing about me,
Secure in the knowledge God loves me
When everyone else seems to doubt me —
If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, too —
Then nothing in life can defeat me
For as long as this knowledge remains
I can suffer whatever is happening
For I know God will break all of the chains
That are binding me tight in the darkness
And trying to fill me with fear —
For there is no night without dawning
And I know that my morning is near."
After I silently read the verses, I glanced up at her and my friend uttered, "I clung to those words for comfort in the weeks and months that followed my divorce. This too shall pass. This too shall pass, I told myself. Then, I tried not to allow the bitterness I felt to weigh me down. But instead, I trusted and believed that God still had great things to come for us. And diligently, I worked to make a better life for me and my children. Indeed, in his timing, God took care of my situation and turned it around."
Like my friend, we must run our race through each twist and turn, and be determined to trust God in every area of our lives. Remembering that the one who created the heavens and earth, is still in control.
God's eye is watching even the tiniest sparrow, so surely he will take care of us and supply our needs.
Each day that we live is a gift, a privilege, thus let's rejoice and be glad in it. God is faithful. So hold on.
Be strong. God knows his divine plan, and he is with us every step of the way.