This Too Shall Pass...or Will It?
This Too Shall Pass... or Will it?
BY DEBRA PAUL
Each of us has probably heard the phrase, "This too shall pass." This phrase is meant to be a comfort to us in the midst of life's difficulties. But, what if what you are going through never actually passes? What then?
I have been in church for most of my life. I have heard many sermons make reference to the mountaintop experiences of life and the times when we are in the valley. Generally, I think the pastor means sometimes the circumstances of our lives are as we desire, other times...well, not so much. The Bible is full of metaphors for this.
Mark 4:39 says, "He [Jesus] got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm." There was a difficult circumstance, Jesus intervened, and the circumstance changed for the better.
Sometimes Jesus will intervene in our trouble and bring about the change we desire. But, when?! That is always the cry of the human soul.
What if the answer is never?
How do you experience abundant life? Do you know that the Bible says that YOU can pass through difficult circumstances instead of just waiting for them to pass?
Isaiah 43:2-3 says, "When YOU pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when YOU pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When YOU walk through fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
Isn't this empowering? Isn't it good news that we do not have to simply sit down in the midst of a difficult circumstance and hope for the best? And notice the word "through" in each of the phrases.
The only way out is through. We have to go "through" things instead of being able to just take a big leap and land on the other side of trouble.
When I hear sermons about mountaintops versus valleys, I just shake my head and say, "Must be nice!" I have never had one of those kinds of lives - the life in which things are going pretty well and then some trouble comes along. Then, it passes and things are going pretty well again. Instead, no matter the circumstance, I am there. I could have everything I could possibly wish for in life and not enjoy it because in the midst of these happy circumstances, I am anxious, fearful, in pain, or feel guilty.
Keys to Passing Through Difficult Circumstances
The most important key to successfully passing through a trial is having an intimate friendship with Jesus Christ.
Through many years of relationship, Jesus and I have formed an intimate friendship. I hear his voice. I feel his love. I know him, and he knows me. I talk to him all the time. He communicates with me through visions, songs, Scripture, and wonderful sensations of being hugged by him.
One of the essentials of this intimacy is faith, believing that what the Bible says is true. Jesus is with me daily. He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way, as the old hymn says. No matter what I am feeling or what is going on in my life, I can be comforted by him because I know him.
Through many years of walking step by step with him through life, I have learned that when I pass through rivers, they will not sweep over me and when I walk through fire I will not be burned.
One of the most important things I have learned in life is to stay in the present and connect with Jesus.
If your mind and heart are constantly dwelling on the point in the future when the difficulty has passed, then you are missing out on what Jesus is doing in the present.
And, I assure you, he is doing a lot. Just open your eyes and peer into the spiritual realm and see what you see.
In 2 Kings 6, Elisha and his servant were in a city that was surrounded by enemies. His servant was terrified and said, "...what shall we do?" Elisha said to his servant, "Don't be afraid...Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see." The Lord opened the servant's [spiritual] eyes and he was able to see the armies of God in the spiritual realm.
An Example from Every Day Life
Currently, I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment. Recently, I have been thinking about getting a roommate so that my rent will be lower. I have not had a roommate in years. I know this situation wouldn't be difficult for many people, but it is scary to me. I have put out a few feelers to see who might be out there looking for a roommate. This morning I woke up and checked my phone to see if anyone had responded to these inquiries. My anxiety shot through the roof! Mercy! It was physically painful. So how did I cope with this?
I was sitting in a chair in my living room in total peace and quiet. I connected with Jesus and started quoting Scripture from memory. Scripture is priceless in times of difficulty. I said out loud, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you..."(Isaiah 43). Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17).
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27). I quoted several more that spoke of God's trustworthiness. Then, the Lord spoke the following to me. "Do not be afraid, sweet Debra, my beautiful child, for I myself will help you, declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel" (paraphrase of Isaiah 41:14).
I have a ceramic cross that I hold sometimes when I am anxious. I laid it on my heart just like you would lay a cold compress on your forehead if you had a headache. I just left it there as I processed. I saw a vision of the blood of Christ seeping into my heart from this cross.
I believe wholeheartedly in the power of the cross.
The cross is here NOW. The resurrection of Christ has conquered fear and anxiety NOW. This moment. This day.
I also saw a vision of a butterfly. God takes our pain and anxiety and forms a beautiful butterfly that flies throughout the world giving hope to the flowers. I also saw a vision of a mothering angel stroking my hair. The Bible says that angels are messengers of God sent to minister to believers (Hebrews 1:14).
I located myself in the present. "I am here in this chair in my living room." "I have food, clothing and shelter right now." "I have nothing to fear in this moment." I asked the Lord to help me come back into the present moment because it is in the present moment that Jesus lives.
Crucial to this entire coping session is trust in God's character. I KNOW God is good, God is able to provide for me, and that He is trustworthy.
I have learned this through years of glorious relationship with him. In this situation, if I had simply focused my heart and mind on the outcome I desired (I get a wonderful roommate, and all is well), then I would have missed out on the visions of the butterfly and the blood of Christ. I would have missed out on the ministering angel. I would have missed out on the peace that Christ himself ministered to me.
The anxiety passed.
Or did it?
No, what really happened is I passed through the anxiety. Thanks be to God.
Debra breathes Scripture and puts her faith in it with such abandon.