For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT
Things lately have been extremely hectic. At work, it seems like so many things are a challenge. In my relationships with others, some are strained and stressed out over the hustle and bustle of the holidays. And yesterday, I started realizing that I was coming down with a cold. I woke up this morning with full blown, can’t drink water workout it hurting my throat, can’t move my head without it hurting, eyes crusted closed, nose stopped up completely, and lips so chapped they feel like a gravel driveway. And this too is worthy of praising God.
The past couple of years, my health has kept me out of work for various problems, be it eye surgery, kidney stones, sickness, etc. And I’ve used all of my PTO days so I inevitably end up having to take time off without pay for periods of time, which has an effect on our cash flow and our monthly budget.
And you see, we are on a very strict budget as we are doing the Dave Ramsey thing and getting ourselves or of debt, so there is so little wiggle room in our budget that a loss of any amount of money truly affects us. And while digging out, we’ve started a weekly ministry out of our home providing meals and Bible Study and even providing Bibles to those in the jail that I visit each week. And food for a group and buying Bibles doesn’t come cheap.
But in all of this seeming chaos, as my body is weak and fights against me in sickness, and as my finances aren’t going exactly to plan – I get to see some amazing things happen in my life.
As I suffered multiple times with kidney stones, wracking my body with pain, I was reminded of Jesus Christ who suffered for me. As I am humbled at times and made to wait patiently for the things that I have planned, I’m reminded that it is His timing and His purpose and that perspective helps protect me from pride. Even as I go through trials and experience pain and struggle, I’m reminded that my life here is like a breath compared to eternity. And I realize there is not quite as strong or undeniable testimony for others than someone facing hardship and circumstances that they don’t allow to steal their peace or joy.
You see, my challenges are an opportunity for God to demonstrate His power. And I’m not talking about miraculous healings, even though I will joyfully take that – as much as I am talking about my backing up my words about faith through my actions – even in the midst of challenging circumstances.
And what is a cold, or even kidney stones, or even the loss of a loved one compared to the struggles and trials that many face in this life? Don’t I know those living on the street with so little? Don’t I know those battling addiction and all kinds of serious and terminal health problems? Don’t I know those who have made poor decisions that have landed them in prison where their time will click away a day at a time until they might ever be free again? Don’t I know that there are those who are locked up in a spiritual prison, far from God and facing the eternal flames because they are lost?
So yes, I’m sick, and it’s very much worthy of praising Him. Because I know His plans for me are greater than the distractions and trials of this life. You see, I used to allow my circumstances to dictate my attitude (and yes, I still fall short at times in that area) – but now I have a hope eternal. And it provides a freedom and a peace that is being what I could have understood previously. So I’m going to praise His name today, even for this cold – especially for this cold.