2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Last winter while playing outside, my 3 year old son, Isaac, discovered a fuzzy black and brown worm curled up into a ball among the leaves. He wondered why it wasn’t moving and I told him that it must be dead. He looked down at it for just a second, then back up at me. “Plug it in,” he said confidently. I laughed out loud at the way his little mind was working, as he compared it to the only other thing he knew died and came back to life again by plugging it in – my phone. So I explained to him that we couldn’t do that with worms and people and other living things, only to non-living things like computers and phones. He pondered my words and looked down at it once more, curled unmoving in his little hand. “Come on!!!” he said to it. Then matter-of-factly to me, “It’s loading.” Of course I laughed again at his simple logic and he asked if he could bring it inside. I knew nothing about worms in the winter, and wasn’t expecting anything to happen, but I should have known better! After only a few minutes of being inside, it thawed and started crawling in Isaac’s hand! At that, my brave bug-loving boy freaked out and threw it on my lap in shock. I just couldn’t believe it! Apparently Isaac was right – it was truly “loading” the whole time!
It was such a truly “LOL” happening, and yet as it crawled across my leg, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there may be a God lesson hiding in it all. Curious, I googled these “wooly” worms, and it turns out that they hibernate during the winter and – get this – actually NEED the cold to be able to turn into a moth in the spring! If they are exposed to warmth continually before the appointed time, they will simply die a wooly worm and will never become the beautiful moth they were intended to be by their Creator all along!
Wow. I knew then that God was trying to say something to me. Often in life we find ourselves amid difficult circumstances, hardships and trials that leave us cold and nearly dead. All hope appears gone, dreams shattered and plans foiled. Curled up and unable to move, the death of our souls seems inevitable. Of course most of us naturally despise such a place of hardship. We long to be free from it. We strain and fight to be somewhere – anywhere – but where we are, and yet…could that be just the place God wants us so He can be about HIS work of changing us into what He wants us to be? Could it be that, just as the worm needs the cold in order to one day fly in the sun, we actually NEED those trials in order to become just like Him?
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Oh, the richness of these words, and the truths they contain! Proving once again that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts not like ours. We would try to avoid the cold, the suffering, and the trials; yet without them, how would we attain that exceeding and eternal glory? How would we mature into faithful servants of Christ to be entrusted with His work? How would we ever be able to soar above the temporal things of this world?
Suffering and hardship, although not caused by God, are always used by Him. They are actually blessings in disguise, for in the midst of them we are being forged into who we were created to be. As I ponder this, I am reminded of Nichole Nordeman’s song Every Season as she so beautifully pens the idea of God being in every season of our lives and working all things for our good:
And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
And still I notice You
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter
And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring
(You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6rUjYj3x9k)
So we can be confident that even in the winters of our lives, when everything is barren and frozen through and we can’t see anything but dirt or feel anything but the bitter cold, God is at work. Behind the scenes, just beyond our view, He is breathing life into death, creating something out of nothing, making all things new. God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did, who opens rivers in the wilderness and fountains in the midst of the valleys, is at work in us always, using even our hardships and trials – to bring newness of life; to cause us to look up to where Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand, cheering us on, interceding for us; to give us wings to fly above it all, if only we have the eyes to see.
So when all feels lost and all you see is despair-look up. Look at the unseen rather than what surrounds you. Look at the eternal instead of the temporary. Look at Jesus and glory in His love for you. And remember that beneath hardness of the frozen ground, life is stirring. Above and beyond what you can see, His plan for you is unfolding, and He is breathing life and making all things – you – new. So rejoice! Spring is coming. You are just about to fly!
Father God, I come to You in Jesus’ name. I thank You that even though I may not see hope in my circumstances, You are the God of all hope. Through these trials, You are working in and through me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory than I could ever imagine. By faith, I choose to believe that this winter season is somehow in Your plan for me and that You are working all things for my good. I choose to look to You, Jesus, and set my eyes upon You as You change me into what You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen