“I can do anything for thirty minutes.”
I smiled when I read that Facebook post from a friend of mine because boy, have I been there. She started a new exercise routine that’s been hard but “I can do anything for thirty minutes.” I’m pretty sure I’ve said that about exercise before. And about a whole host of unpleasant things I’ve had to face in life. That’s because, when we think about it, thirty minutes isn’t forever. It isn’t a huge chunk of time that overshadows our entire lives.
There are those things in our lives that last longer than thirty minutes, though. We’re seeing it now, with refugees flooding Europe. Their troubles have lasted a whole lot longer than half an hour. It’s a lot longer than a half-hour when news comes to us personally that rocks our world as we know it. Those hours and days and weeks weigh on us, stealing our rest, narrowing our focus, even causing us physical pain because our souls are so crushed. We’ve all been there. Some of us are there right now.
In the midst of, it feels like we’ll never smile again. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the suffering times in my life. Of crushing loss and bitter disappointment and out-of-the-blue pain. Those times when I thought I hurt so bad I might die. And in hindsight? What I see when I look back is not the pain… it’s God in the pain. It’s so weird, but when He sets eternity into our hearts, looking back at pain becomes all about Him. Because it’s in those moments when I threw myself into my Abba’s arms and cried out, “I’ve got nothing left. Only you.”
Nobody wants to suffer though. And nobody says it’s not crushing in the moment. It hurts. If it didn’t, we’d be inhuman. We will hurt. Cry. Lash out. Get angry with God. And that’s okay. But in the end, on the scale of eternity, isn’t life only thirty minutes?
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! –II Corinthians 4:17 (NLT)
Heaven knows none of us want to suffer here. But it’s like the saying, “You either just came out of a storm, you’re in one now, or one’s coming.” Life can be beautiful… or it can stink to high heaven. But have you ever noticed the most beautiful sunsets come after storms?
No, I’m not trying to minimize suffering. But Christ promised we could handle it… if we walked through it with Him. And like my friend said, “I can do anything for thirty minutes.” Because eternity with Jesus? That’s what it’s all about.