Sometimes I think I should rename my website, “Anxiety Girl.” Here I am again today, with my latest installment about worrying and what has been helping me overcome this lately.
Let’s start with the worries and how real they are:
Money and old cars and old houses and old bodies.
Grown kids. Kids needing jobs. Kids and their money and cars and houses and bodies.
Church folks and their jobs and money and marriages and cars and houses and bodies.
Students. Student souls and relationships and minds.
That about covers it.
But this morning I was reading A.W. Tozer’s book, The Knowledge of the Holy, and he says, “The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him very long.”
I’m in love with his phrase “temporal problems.” Usually I just think to myself that I have “problems that are going to destroy my life or my people’s lives forever.” Well, Brother Tozer would say I’m not thinking correctly about God, if I’m holding to this perspective on my life struggles. This world is temporary. The problems, even at their worst, are temporary. Sickness is only temporary. Money problems are temporary. God is eternal, and his glory in heaven is what’s going to last forever.
The teacher of my Lamaze class, a quarter of a century ago (yeah), told us bluntly that giving birth, at the worst, could only last about 24 hours. “You can do anything for 24 hours,” she said. That time stamp helped me face the coming pain of childbirth with more of an “I can get through this” mindset.
The other day, I ran into a friend at Costco and found out he had been diagnosed with lymphoma. So hard. But I said to him, “You know, we just have to hold on for a little while. Then heaven.”
Can we just hold on? Muddle along for a bit? Get through some crazy hard but decidedly temporary years? We’re just tent camping here. The writer of Hebrews talks about faithful people who “admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.” (Hebrews 11:13b NIV) I bet they encouraged each other with those words a lot.
It’s a vocabulary issue really.
What vocabulary do we use when we talk about our struggles here? Do we regularly admit the truth about our temporary condition on this earth? We need to talk better. We need regular language coming out of our mouths that is based on good theology about what is temporary and what is eternal.
So let’s infuse our daily conversation with the word “temporal.” Every time we say it, in talking about our very real problems, we’ll be preaching a little sermon to ourselves about who God is versus what this life is. I’m sure hope will be the result.