Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles… 2 Corinthians 4: 16-17
My daughter Jocelyn is beautiful in every way, except for one. When she was about three, she fell and bashed her front teeth on our kitchen floor. Fortunately, she was okay, but the injury to her teeth turned one of them yellow.
I know this is shallow of me, but every time she smiles, my eyes are drawn to that yellow tooth. I’ve been waiting for her to lose it for years, so excited that her one physical flaw will eventually be gone.
I nearly jumped for joy two weeks ago when she got off the bus with that cute little treasure chest the nurse gives kids when they lose a tooth at school. I got even more excited when Jocelyn said, “It’s my front tooth!” But when she smiled, I saw the yellow tooth was still there. It was the white one that had fallen out.
“Oh,” I said. “I thought you lost the other one.” She answered, “No. I still have my golden tooth,” and smiled again.
Wow! All these years I have been seeing that tooth as yellow and rotting, but Jocelyn was seeing it as “golden:” a special treasure that she was lucky to have. Why couldn’t I have seen it that way? What else have I been seeing as negative that could, in fact, be a special treasure I’m lucky to have?
Our house is only twelve years old, but it’s hit that point where everything is starting to break down at once. My oven, dryer, and computer all died within weeks of each other. That time frame happened to coincide with my husband painting our master bathroom.
I love my husband dearly. He’s a wonderful person, husband and dad, but a multi-tasker he is not. It’s taken me fifteen years of marriage to know that asking him to repair anything in the middle of his painting project would just be counter-productive.
Trying to stay on this path of surrender I’ve been trying to walk, I tried to lean into my new challenges with patience. For weeks I lugged wet laundry to the laundromat. Nights and early mornings, when my husband wasn’t at his desk, I used his home officer computer to try and keep up with blogging, emails, and other computer work.
I won’t lie: It was hard! I can’t believe how dependent I am on household appliances and technology. I can’t believe how the extra work and disruption in my usual routine completely muddled my brain. I can’t believe how quickly I was pushed to the edge.
How do people with big catastrophies walk their path with such patience and grace? You know them: they’re the people who undergo chemo treatments, yet still smile and see the good. They’re the people whose home burns down, they’re left with nothing, but they rise above with optimism, and rebuild their lives.
I think it’s because they have Jocelyn’s perspective and faith. Where I see “yellow,” they see “golden.” Where I see hardship, they see opportunity. They see each difficulty along the way as a chance to offer their challenges up to God, transforming them into jewels to be stored up in their heavenly treasure chests.
Life is what it is. It can be hard, and we have so little control over it. What we do have control over, however, is how we look at it, and how we react to it. My goal is to be more like my daughter and those suffering heroes. I want to see future challenges as golden opportunities to dig for jewels, jewels that can be stored up in my heavenly treasure chest if I choose to react with faith and God’s grace.
* What difficulties am I facing right now?
* Do I see them as hardships, or as opportunities?
* Can I ask for God’s grace to see the good in every challenge I face?