And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.
- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (GNT)
There is this dilemma many of us face each day called trouble. Some trouble is big. Most trouble is small. Regardless of the size, it is trouble that keeps us locked up in a mental prison. Hindering our actions and keeping us from focusing on the things that actually matter in life.
We have car trouble, money trouble, relationship trouble, trouble on the job, problems with our health, problems at school, problems with our kids. Then there are global problems, environmental problems, population control problems and the list goes on and on.....For the sake of this post, I want to focus on the individual, small troubles we face.
For the most part, we don't have monumental earth shattering catastrophes occurring on a regular basis. There may come instances every few years or so that make us feel like our hearts are going to stop, but the majority of the troubles we face don't alter the course of our lives. I will use myself as an example. On my drive in to work this morning, my mind kept drifting to the school we will send my daughter to when she starts Pre-K this next school year. The district we live in isn't the best, she wasn't drawn to attend the local charter school, we can't afford private school and we cannot afford for me to quit my job and home school. You see my problem here? I will have to subject my daughter to the horrors of PUBLIC SCHOOL. After a few moments of attempting to think my way out of this problem Philippians 4:6 came to mind: Be anxious for nothing (do not worry about anything), but with all prayer and supplications, make your requests known to God. So I started to talk to the Lord.
As I was talking with Him about how I felt and what I was thinking, I had to admit how out of line I was for acting like God isn't to me what I claim Him to be. I say I believe God is the best decision maker and that, as His child, He means only good for me and my family. Yet and still, here I am acting like all hope is lost in regards to my daughter's academic future. Since we cannot manipulate God with our prayers and I definitely can't "name and claim" and "speak it into existence", the basis of my prayer was not to allow this miniscule problem make me doubt my daughter's future or allow it to negatively affect the rest of my day.
We spend so much energy and brain power on things that don't really amount to anything and they distract us from the weighter matters in life. Like allowing Christ to be formed in us. If you read the verses preceding the passage in 2 Corinthians I referenced at the start of this post, you will see at around verse 8 Paul starts to say, "we are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. At all times we carry in our mortal bodies the death of Jesus, so that his life also may be seen in our bodies. Throughout our lives we are always in danger of death for Jesus' sake, in order that his life may be seen in this mortal body of ours."
These cats were threatened with death, shipwrecked, misaligned, starved, run out of towns, even admitting to moments of doubt....you name it. Yet, they call these things light afflictions; small and temporary troubles.
Do you see the perspective here? Yes, we are troubled, but we move on. Yes, bad things happen, but we have a purpose and a mission to complete and if we let these minor afflictions derail us from this mission we will have failed. Failed Christ, failed ourselves and most importantly, failed the one's to whom Christ was preached. Instead, we live by faith in the One whom we have believed; in the One we preach because we KNOW that our future glory (if we endure to the end) is far greater than anything we face down here. We press toward the reward, the high calling that is in Christ Jesus and believe with all that is in us that He will deliver us, keep and sustain us as we work to live out His will.
And here we are ready to sell the farm when our cars break down. If most of us had to deal with some of the things they dealt with for the sake of spreading the Gospel (or for the sake of anything), we would probably have given up some time ago and called this for the birds.
I am hard pressed to believe that we harp on the small things because we don't have anything of significance to devote ourselves to. The Apostles were staunchly committed to the Gospel. They committed their lives to it and the gravity of the task and their immovable faith in God kept them moving forward in spite of the problems that often arose. This is what many of us are lacking. We are aimlessly meandering through life and fill the spaces in between by majoring in minors. Think about it, if you don't have anything greater than yourself to think about you will naturally only be concerned with the most minute details of nothingness so long as it gives credence to what is going on in your life.
I don't want hindsight to be 20/20 where I look back and say look at what God did; as if I didn't believe He could do anything. I want to look forward, having no idea of the outcome and say, regardless of what it looks like or how this feels; things will be fine and the inconvenience that comes with the trouble is for my benefit. (See James 1:2-8)
The more I think about what Jesus did for us (not just in His death, but in His life before and after the Cross), the less it matters to me about the small and temporary stuff we go through down here. As long as we are down, we WILL have problems; large and small, and we cannot escape them. I just want to face them head on like a champ and keep moving through each phase of life with the Holy Ghost leading me. We act like we want all this greatness in life but can't get our responses to this peon level stuff in check.
Let me leave you with the often quoted yet seldom heeded passage of Scripture in Matthew 6.
“So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ 32 (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.
- Matthew 6:31-34
I'm over it...