No matter who you are or where you are in your life journey, there comes a time when it feels like everything around you is falling apart. Things become hard ~ work, relationships, family, finances, health ~ and before you realize it, you’re the one that’s become hard.
It’s as if all the softness and tenderness has leaked out of your heart and whenever someone comes around, you can’t help but bristle. You feel like a tumbleweed blowing around in the desert, longing to have your thirst quenched. Or you’re trapped in a small pot and boiling water is being poured over you.
You want to escape, but you can’t. As the water rises, you feel yourself spinning around and around in a constant swirl. You’re just trying to make sense of what’s happening. You know what you want. You want out. Out of the struggles, the confusion, the questions and into a happier time. You just don’t know how to get there.
As a caregiver for my Father for more than nine years, I’ve been in this pot of boiling water many times. I’m in it right now. But what I’ve discovered is that when I focus on my pain, my perspective is too small. What is should be focused on is the bigger picture.
And there is always a bigger picture. Good things happen. Bad things happen. It rains on everyone at some point. But when you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, everything in your life is overwhelmed by God’s sovereignty. And since heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool, He sees the bigger picture.
He sees that while I’m swirling around and around in this pot of boiling water, the hard pieces of me are falling off. It’s painful, but necessary.
And even though I feel closed off to everything that’s good, a part of me is opening up. To growth.
He is doing something mysterious that feels foreign to me. But when I choose to yield to Him in the difficult times and let go of the hard places of my heart, He births something in me I never imagined. The Creator is still creating things inside me.
This new birth comes with a sweet fragrance. It doesn’t come from me. It comes from Him. And those around me can smell it. It smells like gentleness, patience, kindness, empathy, longsuffering, understanding. A bit of that smell may have come out of me before, but never this pungent. Because when the boiling water cascades over a surrendered heart, God replaces the bitter hardness with softness and tenderness.
This is the bigger picture. If I choose to step away from my pain and refocus my gaze, the boiling water doesn’t seem to bother me as much as it did before. Maybe I’m used to it. Maybe seeing its value makes it more bearable. Whatever the reason, I know I won’t stay in this pot forever. I will see happier times. But I’ll be a different person enjoying those happier times.
Maybe you’re struggling right now, feeling the boiling water pour over you. Maybe you feel hardened to everything and everyone around you. I get it. Please know that there is a bigger picture. And that picture is being painted against the backdrop of God’s unconditional love for you. He is the only One who can turn something horrible and wretched into something more beautiful than you ever imagined. Just let Him.