“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.”- Isaiah 60:1
“The question is not, ‘Do you have a problem?’ The question is, ‘Does the problem have you?’ “- Joel Osteen
When I reminisce about second grade at Northeast School in Evergreen Park, Illinois, three distinct memories surface. The first two are sitting in a circle singing “This Old Man” while waiting to go on a field trip to the circus and attending Miss Wilson’s wedding at the end of the school year. Walking upstairs to the school library, located in an enclosed balcony at the back of the cafeteria/gym, for testing by the school psychologist is the third.
According to my mother’s most certainly apocryphal account, I was quite the chatterbox and Miss Wilson suspected boredom. One question the psychologist asked was, “Which of these substances is the hardest?” I answered, “An egg.” My second grade brain reasoned if chicks could take nearly an hour to hatch in the Museum of Science and Industry’s incubator, an egg shell must be the hardest substance on earth!
Hard times prompt that age-old question: Why? Laura Story points out that asking “why” can be an important help in processing grief. However, focusing too intently on life’s whys is like running on a treadmill- one never seems to get anywhere and the end product is exhaustion. The Message, in its paraphrase of John 9:3, provides the solution:
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.”
Arise, shine! Ultimately, it becomes beneficial to stop asking why and seek ways to bring glory to the Heavenly Father. Hope provides the foundation for revitalizing faith. John Ortberg differentiates two types of hope:
“Hope comes in two flavors: hoping for something and hoping in someone.”
As a kindergartener sitting on Santa’s lap, my wish was for something. Decades later, the purifying fire of adversity has forged a faith centered on hope in Jesus. Even on the day of His birth, something about Jesus had a way of forcing people to take a stand. Centuries ago, Blaise Pascal said:
“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.”
Arise, shine! Your light has come!