Momentary Light Affliction

From time to time I’ve heard, “Be careful what you ask for. You might get it.”

I realized that this morning after a round of routine annual medical tests and a few errands. It was only 11:30 am — outrageously early for lunch — but since I’d been up since 5:00 am with a sick dog it felt like 2:00 pm. I stopped at my favorite sandwich shop and pondered what I could come up with to blog about. Well, that’s not accurate. I asked the Lord to guide me to a blog topic.

Moments later, a petite paraplegic woman and her caregiver wheeled gently around my table. The disabled woman, dressed in jet black slacks that matched her neat pixie-haircut and a freshly pressed coral voile shirt, cheerfully thanked her assistant for bringing her out for such good food. I tried not to stare, but stare I did, noticing how pleasant she looked, how much care she had in her appearance. She had on tiny gold hoop earrings that accentuated her pretty face and hair. Pristine white socks on her feet told that she never walked. But her most stunning accessory was her sweet and upbeat personality. Her hands bent backwards in an unnatural way, but there was something very compelling about her soul that you could hear in her words. I smiled and said, “good morning,” but really didn’t know what to say.

Once back into my car I glanced through a few rows of mostly luxury cars and noticed a disheveled man in front of the restaurant. I think he too was looking for a job, but did not have the luxuries that I have of some reserves and a supportive spouse. How did I miss this on my way in? How can this happen in affluent Fairfax County, Virginia?

These two scenes troubled me, and I turned on the radio as I pulled out. I’m greeted with a disarming monologue by Holocaust survivor David Faber who was held in nine different concentration camps and who witnessed the massacre of his entire family by the Nazis. I couldn’t finish hearing his story — I was pulling into my warm, dry garage and honestly, I wasn’t strong enough to hear the end. What I did hear was that he made a pledge to God, that if he survived, he would tell the world about God’s faithfulness.

I thought of the Apostle Paul — how he was beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, thirsty, and hungry in his work spreading the gospel. At this point I don’t want to even think about, let alone speak about my teeny, tiny problems in light of what I’ve just seen and heard.  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “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.”

If you have a moment, I’d like to hear about the times the Lord answered your requests, perhaps in the most profound and unexpected ways. After today I am challenged to move from being a “baby Christian” into one more mature and cognizant of the many needs of those around me.

Blessings and kind regards to you all.

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