This morning from our Bible reading in Acts 27 I was reminded of this commonly quoted phrase, “This, too, shall pass.”
It is a paraphrase taken from the King James Bible “and it came to pass.” It occurs 477 times in the KJV and 177 in the NKJV. In more modern translations is it used far less often.
It is an expression used by folks working through difficult circumstances. There is no definitive answer for the exact origin of this popular saying, but some seem to think it stems from a fable written by Persian Sufi poets. Others suggest it was a part of Jewish folklore and credit King Solomon, although it is not recorded in the Bible.
While some things in life are a daily constant, many of the challenges, troubles, and temptations that we face will pass. Think about some of the things that you worried about a year ago? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Probably they have passed.
Time changes. There are different concerns. Fresh challenges. Exciting opportunities. New stages of life. In fact, the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus is credited with saying “the only thing that is constant is change.” This was true in 500 B.C. It is true today in the 21st century.
What seemed like incredible problems in my youth have passed away. In retrospect, they now seem minuscule. Yet, in each season of life, we must deal with specific issues that are related to our age, circumstance, current employment, family situation, or health. But these will all pass.
Jesus’ advice, therefore, is an appropriate way to face life’s various challenges.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt 6:31-34)
Whatever problem you are now experiencing, whether physical, emotional, relational or spiritual will come to an end. In fact, it’s amazing that when tough times finally pass, they become just a faint, distant memory. Oh, I know, right now, it doesn’t seem that way, if you’ve lost your job, failed a test, are behind on your mortgage, or waiting on the results of a medical test. But these things will pass.
Proper perspective reminds us that our focus needs to be spiritual. God. His Righteousness. His Kingdom. And the eternal home he has prepared for us.
Even with all the problems and persecutions, Paul experienced in his ministry he could see it with an eternal viewpoint. Beatings. Shipwrecks. Imprisonments. Unfair criticism. False accusations. Physical suffering. Emotional trauma. They all passed. And Paul could proclaim…
“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.” (2 Cor.4:16-18)
Whatever heartache, sorrow, or burden you are bearing, it, too, shall pass. There is a brighter day coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman