Yesterday I accidentally flung my glasses across the kitchen, and a lens popped out. That’s never happened before. I crammed it back in, but tentatively. So today I had to drive to the optician at the mall and ask them to do it right. Not only did the kind employee who waited on me reset the lens securely, but she also used an instrument and her expertise to adjust my frames so that my eyewear doesn’t sit crooked on the bridge of my nose anymore. I had been walking around with glasses askew for months, after sitting on them once, but had told myself it didn’t look that bad. But the optician lady took one look at me after refitting the lens and said, “Your glasses are crooked.”
In a related story, a friend of mine and her daughter and granddaughter drove hundreds of miles to a beach resort where she had reserved a suite only to find upon arrival that someone else had been given her apartment. The management apologized and gave her an upgrade, with better amenities and a better view.
In both vignettes there is a dangerous part of the story, and it is the part I have not mentioned: the time gap between the first announcement of trouble and the resolution of the trouble. As you can see in hindsight, in both cases there is not only a resolution but also a superseding of the original good expectation, but you and I do not live life “in hindsight.” The time gap is where we are most likely to sin. The time gap is where we are likely to grumble, and even doubt God.
My friend did not grumble when she heard the news that she would not be able to occupy the shore house she rented—and she must be glad about that now. What forfeit there is when we allow our faith to flag at the first sign of trouble! What gain there is when we are “slow to anger” and we persevere in not only trusting God but also go beyond that to verbally give Him the glory in all circumstances. Wow, who ever does that? (I know some.)
And if you consider these two relatively small examples of what may be around the bend of a troubling moment, and if you expand it out to more serious trials—like a loss of a relationship, a physical injury, a firing, a rejection you suffer as a result of not compromising your integrity in a business deal—these aforementioned outcomes will give you hope in your own present distresses.
For what worth is faith that is unsettled at the first foul breeze? Faith, by its very definition, is holding on to our God and His promise to be with us, even when at the moment there seems not to be a trace of Him. Perseverance is faith with running shoes on.