2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen”
My message today is “This Too Shall Pass”….. When I had the privilege of my only experience of passing a kidney stone, (thank you Jesus) …they comforted me with these words…. “This too shall pass” .. But at the moment, all I wanted was some morphine to stop the pain… I heard those words spoken by Winnie, while she was carrying each one of our children. “This too shall pass”…I’m sure every expectant mom has uttered these words…. When each of our children entered their teen years, Winnie and I comforted each other with those words…”This too shall pass”….and thank God it did! Speaking of young people, I often see where young lovers have carved their names in trees, and most folks think it’s cute and romantic, but it makes me wonder why so many young lovers carry knives with them on their dates…Hmmmmmm!
One of our favorite TV detectives is Columbo, with his junky car and disheveled appearance, he is always underestimated by those he is investigating. And it throws them off guard and gives him the advantage. His famous set up in every show, is that he asks questions of the suspects, who realizes they are about to be caught, then he leaves the room, but he doesn’t actually leave. He waits for them to trip themselves up by making a phone call or saying something to their partner in crime, who is nearby. At that critical point, he re-enters the room and says, “excuse me, but just one more thing”….. Gotcha!!! “Just one more thing”…. That’s the way it always is with the human experience… JUST ONE MORE THING! THERE IS ALWAYS ONE MORE THING TO GET THROUGH, TO WORK OUT, TO RESOLVE, AND TO OVERCOME….
I want you to try and remember that stress, that disappointment, that deep concern you had on a certain date in the past… the date I’ve selected is October 10, 2013, (are you thinking) Oh, you can’tremember. You just proved that whatever it was, “This too shall pass”!
My mom’s favorite saying to us was “Get over it, in 100 years, you’ll never know the difference…. She was so right!
Many folks believe that the statement, “This too shall pass”… is in the bible, but it isn’t a bible quote….(SAY WHAAAAAAA!) It was one of the favorite quotes of Abraham Lincoln, and it is also said that an Eastern monarch gave command to his wise men to invent a sentence, that could always be displayed, which would be true and appropriate in all times and situations. And they presented him the words: "And This, Too, Shall Pass” It can make you laugh and rejoice, because you are glad that a lot of things are over and behind you…. It can make you cry because you wish so many of those wonderful and cherished times could have lasted a lot longer or never ended at all…
Someone has said, you can never really go back home, because you’ve changed and it has changed…..You’re at a different place now. But the truth is also that you can never really leave home, because it’s part of you…..We visited one of the churches we pastored many years ago. We were shocked, because we hardly knew anyone there. Folks had moved on and new folks had come. Those who were there before were forgotten, and their accomplishments were now replaced by others who had taken their place. New methods, new vision, new personalities, but the same message of the gospel. (hallelujah)
When I hear the words “This too shall pass” I hear another statement. “I shall pass this way but once. Any good that I can do, let me do it now, for I may never pass this way again” And I am reminded that we must all do what we can do now, in this present time, because what we do will either help the next ones who are standing in the wings, or it will make it harder for them. How I raise my family, gives them a foundation for raising their families. How I do ministry will give the next person a leg up, or make it harder for them. This sign in the harbor is one we all need to take heed of “You’re responsible for your wake”…..
I think of the incredible epitaph which is spoken about David and the life that he lived. Yes, he fell and he got up, and he fell, and he got up, but oh what he accomplished, even to the point that David, had a heart after God…. But here’s the awesome statement that became God’s permanent record of David’s life…. Acts 13:36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep and his body was buried with his fathers…” Who here wouldn’t want to hear God speak those words over your life….
Once I preached on the topic of "Suffering" and following the service a
woman met me at the door and said, "I really had no idea what suffering really meant till I heard your sermon". I’m still not sure how to take that comment…..
When I hear the words “This too shall pass”…. I see the principal of seed time and harvest… One sows, another waters, but we all rejoice together in the harvest…. The old slogan of years past is still true today…. “Only one life, will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” As we sow the seeds of Christian charity, believing that the Lord of harvest will always fulfill His covenant with the seed, our labor shall never be in vain in the Lord. Little is much when God is in it!
A man working on the Golden gate bridge needs a cable to hold on to in the strong winds, and the dizzying height, something to hold him steady and keep him from falling. I believe this declaration can be that kind of stability in our lives….”This too shall Pass” can be a life line….
To be a believer in Christ is to understand that with all the things that have come and gone, we are part of a world within a world, a kingdom within a kingdom, that shall not perish and shall never pass away.
While the words “This too shall pass” are not in the bible, there are some verses which give us a look at the grand scheme of kingdom overview….. Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:10 When that which is perfect comes, that which is in part will be done away.
God deposited His perfect gift in imperfect vessels, so that the perfect is not going to come, it HAS COME. Eternity is within us, which makes us immortal and eternal beings. What if we lived as though we could never die? The bible refers to physical death as sleep. It’s like waking up to a new day. The bonds of earth will pass, and loose us to ascend to our God and enter that heavenly realm, where we shall be with Him eternally. We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is… Pinch your flesh container and say with me… “This too shall pass”… Scripture tells us Job 23:10 “He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” And God is making it clear right here, that His blessings and promises, far outweigh and far exceed any human failings and curses which we may encounter in our earth journey, in its many trips around the sun, as we encounter the solar system as well as the molecular world of plagues, diseases, and various afflictions. Then there are the lessons of life we must all learn in the school of hard knocks… Not to mention the trials and tests we must all endure. But He tells us not to focus on all these things, but focus on letting the gold which these things produce in us… shine, shine, let it shine….
Often, this gold making process in us is like watching a parade. You can only really see about 4 or 5 floats or marching groups at a time. But if you go up in a helicopter, you see the beginning of the parade all the way to the end and everything in between, So the key is to move up higher like Paul on the deck of the sinking ship. It still sank, but Paul moved up higher and saw the end from the beginning, and he saw that this too would pass. He saw the outcome and was able to save everyone on the ship, by getting wisdom that is from above. God sees the beginning and the end of our parade, He sees that you have already overcome, He sees that you came through it stronger and better off than when you went in.
No, we won’t be spared every time, but we will be purified and more valuable to the kingdom when the process is finished….
Isaiah 41:9 “You are My servant.’ I have chosen and not rejected you. 10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will surely help you; I will uphold you with My right hand of righteousness”.
Everyone who believes in Christ will be healed, either here or here and there. We will all receive perfect bodies, no longer susceptible to sickness or disease, or malfunctions of any kind. One day Winnie is going to rise and they’ll find a metal hip joint on the ground with no body attached. Cherie’s knees will be left behind, and they’ll find a prosthetic laying around with no Scott anywhere to be found. Paul says “and we shall be changed”…. That’s another way of saying “This too shall pass’….
There’ll be no more memory problems, weight problems, or dysfunctional issues of any kind. We shall be like Him….
No matter what problem, troubles, trials, tests, storms, turmoil, plague, pestilence, or limitations we have encountered… “This too shall pass.” In the midst of all that is not yet, is the inspiration and the hope of what will surely be…. And it becomes the due north needle on the compass of our journey.
It’s the slaves in the bowels of a slave ship singing and African chant… (Hum it) and God used it to touch John Newton’s heart and he quit the slave trade when he wrote the words to that mournful chant. And the pain of those slaves came through as….
“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like Me, I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see”…. Through many trials, toils and snares, I have already come. Twas grace that brought me here thus far, and grace will lead me home. When we’ve been there ten thousand years. Bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we’ve first begun….
I have bad news and good news for you….The bad news, you are dying! It’s no joke, biologist tell us that every day, to some extent, each of us are dying...The cells and atoms in our bodies are dying. In fact, every atom and every cell that is now in our bodies will die off within the next seven years. In essence, we are experiencing a daily dying of our physical being. This too shall pass…..But the good news, you are being restored! Just as the cells and atoms in our bodies are dying, likewise new ones are being created to take their place. It is my understanding, (and I make no claim to being a biologist) this process makes a complete transition every seven years. So that every seven years, you become a completely different person.
Every seven years Winnie gets a completely new and different husband….
But one day that cycle will be terminated and there will be no more death or dying. We will become new and stay new forever….
The finish line in a race is all the way around the track from the starting line…. God will usually require that we finish what we’ve started before we begin something new. While we are still here in this season and time… we have to live by the principle that Inorder to step into a new season of life we have to complete the last one. Often, God won’t give us a new word until we’ve been faithful in the last word. When it comes to this principle, many folks want to keep their cake and eat it to.
God will often take us through one thing, before He puts new things on us. The danger is that we compare what’s happening in our lives with what’s happening in the lives of others, but that only creates discontent, and frustration. Jesus told his disciples when they were comparing themselves with the other disciples…. “What is that to you, your focus should be on following me.”
The weather service has super computers that can do 232 trillion operations a second and it still cannot tell the weather a month into the future. God knows the end from the beginning. With all our comparisons, we cannot grasp why our heavenly father would work a certain way in one person’s life and another way in someone else, even though they may be in the same situation. But they have a different destiny….
In one situation God told David to go up to battle and he would win… In another situation God told David if he went up to battle he would lose. David could have thought that because he won the last time, he would win this time, and he would have been DEAD wrong! David was a warrior king and lead his army into battle, but there came a time when God told him to no longer go to war with his men. His season changed, and now he was to be the ruler and the statesman and not the fighter.
Each season may require a different strategy, so as we enter the new season, we can’t take for granted that it will be like the last time… This too shall pass….
Have you ever struck out? You were sure you could at least get on base…. I need to be careful when I say this, but you can miss your seasons and still fulfill God's purpose for your life. Let me explain it by using a baseball analogy. You can strike out several times and still win the game. Striking out doesn't mean its all over, just that at bat is over. The best hitters in the world are also some of leaders in striking out. Sammy Sosa had more strike outs than anyone else in baseball for 3 years in a row! 1997 - 99. But...In 97 he had 36 home runs, in 98 he had 66, and in 99 he had 63. In the record books of the top ten home run hitters in a season in baseball, he occupies positions 3, 5, 6.
If you miss a season it can have serious repercussions, but you can still have a great final season, if you just don't quit. All of us can admit that we’ve missed what God wanted us to do at one time or another. But praise God, that is what makes grace so amazing, and that is why we sing so much about it and celebrate its power in our lives.
Don't make permanent conclusions about your present seasons. Whether you speak them out loud or just start thinking them….
"I just mess everything up" …."I never get it right"…. "I will never love again, I’ve been hurt too badly"…."I don’t think I will ever find happiness"….. "Things will never get better"… Listen, No one needs all that extra pressure when they’re in a difficult season!
How different would David's story have been if 1 Samuel 30:6 didn’t say, "And David encouraged himself in the Lord”. Listen, we have enough things to discourage us without discouraging ourselves! Stop presiding over your own funeral. Stop digging your own grave!
We are the people of the resurrection…. And “This too shall pass”!!
If the devil hands you the mike to say some final words, stand up there and shout out…
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And then finish it off with 2 Timothy 1:12 “for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day”. (When This Too Shall Pass)
Prayer….. Lord, when things get complicated and intense, calm my heart, and bring me to Your place of peace. I know that no matter how things turn out, when You are at the center of my life, I will still be standing when it’s all said and done. Let Your Spirit keep me balanced as my spirit stays open to your truth. Lord, Grant me courage to do what is right, no matter what others around me are doing. Speak Your words into my spirit and let Your will be at the center of my convictions. When I am weary and fear and worry and doubt surround me on every side, let me trust in Your mercy and find rest in You. I know it may not be easy and it may take time, so give me patience and perseverance that I may remain strong and resolute. I place my path, my direction, my goals and my very life in Your wisdom, Your love, and Your grace. In Jesus name, Amen.