Have you ever stopped with a group of friends, or family members, or after taking a personality test to consider your personal outlook disposition? Are you a realist? A pessimist? An optimist? Do you naturally see the cup half full or half empty? I personally tend to see situations for what they are and adapt. Circumstances can feel overwhelming at times and while I know that there is always a “best course of action” or solution, it takes mental discipline to look for the potential.
While walking through one of the darkest hours of my life, an elder at my church encouraged me one day simply saying,
This will end soon.
It struck me profoundly, as I had been adapting for nearly six years to gradually worsening circumstances and had decided to persevere, make the best of it, and pursue God through it. In my mind it would last forever. I was neither considering nor planning for the end. But almost as prophetic, just a few days later, it ended. Yes, ramifications continued, and occasionally they even still rear their ugly heads, but a situation of that intensity had reached its climax and could not continue. It came to its natural end.
When we are children, time passes slowly. We count down to holidays, to summer break, to adulthood, and every major event. As we get older, time seems to pass more quickly. And Scripture teaches us that in light of eternity, our lives are just a moment:
– James 4.14
There may be situations in your life from which you need to flee. There may be situations in your life to which you need to adjust. There may be situations in your life that are daunting and heavy. But nothing is permanent. Nothing. Some things may last the rest of your life, some things may last for many many years, but everything will come to an end one way or another.
And beyond it there is hope.
And through it there is hope.
Jesus came to the world as a Jew during a time when the Jews did not have control of their land, but were living under the oppression of the Romans. Jesus received a variety of responses, and while He was loved for the miracles and benefits He gave to people, He was also hated and ultimately He suffered the most intense of persecutions and death. But He took on our sins in His death and offers us forgiveness and hope of eternal life with Him if we believe in Him and submit ourselves to Him as Lord over our lives.
There is temporal hope:
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
– 1 Cor 10.13
No temptation or situation in your life is uncommon to humanity. God knows it all, and He has successfully maneuvered your circumstances before. There is always a way of escape, even if it is the Spiritual discipline to endure for a lifetime the circumstance. He gives grace to the weary and He will give you the ability to persevere if you rely on Him for strength.
There is also eternal hope:
– Rom 8.28
We often cite this promise for temporal hope as well, however it can be misinterpreted. The “good” that God promises is not necessarily success or gain. It is a promise of our Spiritual maturity and well being. Almost all of the apostles died as martyrs. Much of the early church was persecuted and scattered across the known world because of their faith. But God used that persecution and dispersion to spread the Church like wildfire. It was for everyone’s good and maturity that they were persecuted and scattered.
We may not see the end of a situation in our lifetime. But it will end. We may not see the end result or the fruit of our efforts. But God promises to work everything for good for those who love Him.
What is important is to remember that God will always ensure our Spiritual well being and orchestrate every situation to His glory and our eternal good. We may not get exactly what we want, but He will give us what we need. God will always provide us with a way of escape from sinful situations and a way of glorifying Him in any circumstance.
So if your disposition is pessimism, or realism, or glass-half-empty, just remember God and eternity. You do not have to see the potential in the situation or the person, but believe the promises of God. If you are an optimist or chronically positive, remember that God is working all things to an eternal good. Do not just take pleasure in seeing the temporal and worldly successes and events, but give glory to God for the Spiritual and eternal ones too.
This will end. One way or another. God is working out His perfect plan and everything is happening for His glory and our good, if we love Him.
So love Him today. And trust Him. Seek the path He has laid before you – for escape, for perseverance, for His glorification, and you will find that your Spirit is renewed and revived as you await that glorious meeting.