How long is this season of suffering going to last? In one sense, we do know.
Once again I’m taking five minutes with the Five Minute Friday #fmfparty gang to write unedited on a theme sent out by Kate Motaung. The word-prompt today is SEASON. (You can join in too – here’s how.)
‘How long, O Lord?’ My whining heart makes the minutes turn to hours, simply through my impatience. I try to impose my will on the Creator of the Universe, and when he doesn’t work to my timetable, I criticise him and his judgment. ‘Hurry UP!’, my heart complains.
While I wish everything around me would straighten up according to my pain-evasive wishes, I fail to see that there’s something else going on in the wait. A quiet, revolutionising transformation.
In much the same way that rocks deep in the earth, under immense pressures and unique strains, change carbon to diamond, my own character is in the throes of a stress-induced transformation. God’s primary purpose isn’t to make my life easy, but to make me shine sparklier… with the glory of His Son.
Why would I object to this? Why would I cry at the pain of the tribulation, the troubles which seem so fickle, random and meaningless? The miracle is that though these seasons of trial do seem come to us randomly, God is at work through each one. We share the troubles that every other person on earth is afflicted with. Perhaps not in the detail, but in the reality. ‘You will have trouble in this life.’
For sure, some seasons drag on. In some ways, through better and worse days, this season of trouble lasts a lifetime. There’s no point at which we graduate from trouble in life. But it is just a season. Just the next few hours, days or decades… and our season on earth is done.
And then comes an experience beyond ‘seasons’. It’s an encounter that we’ll never complain about. A place where the tears are gone, and the uncontainable joy has come. And that’s a season that will never end. Eternity is impossible for us to comprehend, but that’s where we’re bound.
From that perspective, we’ll be looking back at the troubles which passed in the blink of an eye, our pains and frustrations, our broken dreams and disappointments, our triumphs and failures, all swallowed up in God’s glory, and his eternal love. At least, by God’s grace that’s where I’ll be. I know some are still thinking about whether they want to go there on his terms.