We’ve probably all heard the expression “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill!” This bit of homespun wisdom is useful when we are tempted to make our problems seem bigger than they really are. It’s a way to make us step back, take a breath, and realize that it’s really not so bad as we initially thought. As believers, we have many verses in the Bible that teach us what it means to trust God even (especially) when we don’t know what’s going to happen. As Corrie ten Boom says, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” (And if you haven’t ever read The Hiding Place I’d encourage you to do so this summer!) God also offers us peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) and joy even in the midst of suffering (see e.g. Colossians 1:24). How different is the case of the Christian than that of the unbeliever who has only this fallen, present world for their happiness.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Prov. 3:5-6 KJV
So many times, in this broken world we need to look past the problems to the bright hope that we have because Christ is coming back! Lord, help us to learn how better to trust You when things don’t go according to our plans. When we are confronted with circumstances not of our making and beyond our control may the Lord be pleased to give us the grace to continue to love sacrificially those around us and still serve them. God, please give us an eternal perspective of these pre-sent moments as well as the ability to remember and value rightly the reality that everyone we see has an immortal soul.
Why bring this up? Because just over the past couple of weeks I have been reminded of the Christian’s tendency to downplay their own suffering. In several very different conversations I have heard fellow believers make the valid observation that “well, it’s not as bad as . . .” or “but it could be worse.” Both of those statements are true and valuable reminders that many other’s suffering is indeed bigger and ‘badder’ than ours. But we should not dismiss our own burdens so quickly. We really do live in a fallen, broken world. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English puts it, humanity “fell into a condition of sin and misery” (Q. 17, emphasis added). While we certainly shouldn’t exaggerate or overemphasize our own trials, if we minimize the reality of the burdens we bear, then we are in danger of diminishing the help the Lord will provide. We sometimes (with the best of intentions) act as if we can take care of this problem ourselves, we don’t need God’s help. Or, perhaps more often, we deprive our brothers and sisters from helping us even in prayer and so make it difficult, if not impossible, to experience the blessing of obeying the command to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 ESV).
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV
Peace be with you,