These November mornings I find myself taking longer to wake up and shake off the aches and pains of arthritic joints. I hobble down the hall into the kitchen, fumble with the coffee maker then collapse on my overstuffed armchair content to ease into the day slowly—very slowly. It’s downright annoying and quite humiliating. Where did the vigor and energy go that had me jumping out of bed to embrace a new day while I sang the hallelujah chorus? Okay, maybe my memory is a bit cloudy here, especially when it comes to singing anything.
If I let myself, I could easily feel as gloomy as the yard outside the window looks. Leaves litter the grass. The flowers are shriveled husks. The deciduous trees are bare, except for some beech and oak whose leaves hang on longer. I face another day of November rain or early snow with four or five months of winter ahead. And I haven’t serviced the snow blower yet.
Everything reminds me of the verse, “outwardly we are wasting away”. Now, that’s the way I feel! And as I look out the window, that caption could be written beneath all the broad leaved trees. In late fall and winter, it takes a very discerning eye to separate the living trees from those that are dead. Sometimes a canker on the trunk of a tree betrays the inner rot. Among others woodpecker holes signal the presence of carpenter ants eating their way through the heartwood.
But inside, most of those trees are very much alive, just waiting for the spring. And what about us? Isn’t there more to that verse than a lament about our aging bodies? Ah, here it is. “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
Daily, the Holy Spirit refreshes our spirits by reminding us that not only does God love us now, but He is preparing a bright future for us. “In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
Lord of heavenly glory and earthly help, enable me to see beyond the seen; beyond the temporary pains and problems into a future bright with glory; a future that is eternal. And help me to be a cheerful glory-spreader instead of a gloom dispenser. But, and this is a big but, help me to be real and not just plaster a smile on my face. For shiny, artificially happy Christians are insufferable.