“People are so ready to think themselves changed when it is only their mood that is changed! Those who are good-tempered because it is a fine day, will be ill-tempered when it rains: their selves are just the same both days; only in the one case, the fine weather has got into them, in the other the rainy.” ~ The Lost Princess by George Macdonald
You know a quote is good when it sticks with you for more than just a few days or a week. This one has popped back into my head for months since I read The Lost Princess with my kids.
A question keeps coming to mind as I react to the ups and downs of life. Am I basing my reactions to things on what I know of God and my security in Him, or am I basing it on the circumstances I find myself in?
Sadly, more often than I would like, it is the circumstances. Most often lately when we have been struggling with health and lack of sleep, the days that I get more rest and feel healthier, I can smile more, find that extra bit of patience with the kids, do that thing that’s been hanging over my head, and I feel joyful. In contrast, when I feel the days of missed sleep pile up, and the illness seems to jump from person to person and then back around again; when I can’t accomplish the things I would like to, and just doing the daily tasks seems overwhelming, my joy disappears.
Why? God hasn’t changed. His love for me hasn’t changed. How He sees me and what He’s done for me hasn’t changed. My circumstances have changed, and I lose sight of Him in them.
The amazing thing is that, while I have done this over and over, God has continued to patiently teach me. He doesn’t weary of me, even when I am slow to learn. He never quits. He allows me to face the changing circumstances, and bit by bit, He changes me.
I would love to say that like Paul, I have found the secret to being content in all things and am actually living like it. In fact, I struggle often.
There is beauty though, even in the struggle, and it’s found entirely in my Savior. Because my Savior is in the business of redeeming things. Even as I falter over and over in fixing my eyes on my Lord rather than the load I think I must bear, He walks the road with me. He reminds me through His Word that He is willing to bear my load. He doesn’t abandon me. He even gains glory as I honestly admit my failures, because when I succeed there is no question that it is because of Him. I find the strength to keep walking, and try again to find true joy and hope, regardless of circumstances, because of Him.
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~ Romans 5:2-5