This blog too shall pass

This too shall pass……

This time in your life when it’s all gone pear-shaped, when nothing’s coming together…

Some problems resolve, some don’t. But even if your situation doesn’t actually resolve

It shall pass.

That demanding situation, with its stress. The confusion and torment.

This too shall pass.

Those endless hours of overtime you put in just to try and get by.

This too shall pass.

That chronic illness that hounds your waking hours and haunts your sleep, like a rabid dog.

This too shall pass.

That drawn-out wait in the queue at Barclays….and what’s happened to their air conditioning….?

This too shall pass.

The imbecility of people you have to put up with – day after……flipping daaaaay…….

Those fools whom you don’t suffer gladly. Their lack of compassion and understanding. “Humans! Why are they so brainless?”

This too shall pass.

Even worse, your own stupidity. Those times you kick yourself, because of the things you do that you know you shouldn’t. The people you’ve hurt. In the words of the Black Eyed Peas, “Where is the love [in me]?”

The things you put off doing, or saying, that you know you should really get round to. That card. That phone call. That compliment. “When will I ever learn to do the right thing?”

This too shall pass.

This Government. A society tangled up in chains of injustice. Slavery to addiction all around you – and even in you. Global poverty – and your own inadvertent part in perpetuating it by hoarding more than sharing your relative wealth.

This too shall pass.

—–

These four little words came to me the other day when I was stewing about something, in prayer. I had no idea where the phrase came from, where I’d heard it, what its origins are, but I guess it’s one of those sayings that are so deeply ingrained in our culture like Shakespeare, the Bible and the Beatles, that they spring out of nowhere.

It popped into my head, out of the blue,

from my inner self,

my subconscious,

and/or God.

A personal situation was weighing on me so heavily, my anxiety exacerbated by workload tiredness and the non-stop demands and broken nights of family life. When time to relax, reflect and re-create is difficult to find, every difficulty feels worse.

“This too shall pass,” that inner voice assured me.

I’ve since discovered through extensive research into ancient traditions and literature across a range of classical cultures (i.e. a quick glance at Wikipedia) that the origins of the phrase lie in Middle Eastern folklore.

Persian poet Attar records the fable of a powerful king who asks his assembled wise men to create a ring that will make him happy when he is sad. After deliberation the sages hand him a simple ring with the words “This too shall pass” etched on it, which has the desired effect to make him happy when he is sad, but thus also becomes a curse whenever he is happy.

Jewish tradition sees Solomon as either the king humbled by the adage, or as the one who delivers it to another.

Not surprising, really, that Judaism, with its belief in an after-life, adopted this legend.

Not surprising, either, that although the phrase doesn’t come from the Bible, similar ideas emanate throughout the New Testament, following Jesus’ teachings on the life to come and the Christian hope for a better future. A silver thread of hope weaves majestically through the Judeo-Christian scriptures – a constant reminder that this world is not the final word, always pointing us magnetically like a northbound needle to eternity.

—–

And therein lies one of the great strengths of the Christian faith – hope. For people like me, faith in the resurrection of Jesus and his life within us produce a sense that things will always get better, that all injustice will finally be put right – that even we will be put right!

—–

One day I was talking with a friend about some mission work going on in a third world country and the hope being given to the people there through the missionaries’ message. And my friend said to me, “What good is it giving people hope if that hope is never fulfilled, if nothing ever changes?”

It was a reasonable question.

But hope inspires us to change things, to work towards that better future we believe in. For many Christians, when we pray “Your kingdom come”, we don’t just sit around passively hoping with some vague optimism that one day God’s kingdom will come, righting every wrong.

On the contrary, we feel caught up in our own prayer, sensing the call to play our part in bringing that future realm of wholeness and justice into the present.

People of faith and hope that “this too will pass” are inspired to help this (whatever “this” may be) to pass. To make poverty history. To relieve suffering. To run soup kitchens, food banks, 24-7 prayer networks, counselling services, HIV clinics, disaster relief agencies….

Hope gives people the courage even to change themselves.

—–

il_fullxfull_779872040_nq8tThroughout the ages, people of faith and hope (including, but not exclusively, Christians) see themselves as temporary visitors to this planet.

“Just passing through….”

…expressed perfectly in the amazing ‘Supernatural’ by my musical heroes, DC Talk:

“This world’s a tortured place to be So many things to torment me And as I stumble down this road it takes a toll…

Beyond this physical terrain There’s an invisible domain Where angels battle over souls in vast array But down on earth is where I am No wings to fly, no place to stand Here on my knees I am a stranger in this land”

We see ourselves as strangers in this land. Our physical life in this world is seen as short-term.

This world, too, shall pass.

We have a perspective that makes suffering in this life more tolerable.

—–

But thankfully, not all our problems last a lifetime. The situation I was facing – am still facing – will most likely resolve itself within just a few years, perhaps even sooner.

And those four words spoken from the spirit or Spirit within me significantly relieved my anxiety. The right words at the right time. Hope has been re-kindled. I continue to pray about that situation, but with a more peaceful trust that my Father, who sits outside of time and even eternity, who just is (Yahweh), will see it through, and see me through.

—–

And even that queue at Barclays shall pass….

—–

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.  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4: 17-18, The Bible (New Living Translation)

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5 thoughts on “This blog too shall pass

  1. Sylvia says:

    Roger, you’re a diamond. Thank the Lord that He’s gifted you to encourage others.. God bless you.. Sylvia

  2. Jackie Spencer says:

    Your blogs are so apt and inspirational. I think you must consider writing a book.

    Many blessings, Jackie

  3. Joy Fors says:

    Yes…a thoughtful writing to encourage me as a long-term follower of Jesus Christ. I can always turn to this blog and receive a challenge, an insight, an inspiration or all three!! Thank you Child of Grace……God is using you in another believer’s life tonight in the USA.

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