This too, shall pass...
It’s a great saying, a wise saying, and many people think this phrase is taken from the bible, but it’s not. There’s an old story told in Persian poetry about a king. This king commissioned a group of wise men to craft a ring that would make him happy when he was sad. After much deliberation, they handed the king a signet ring with the phrase, “this too shall pass,” engraved on it. Since then, this well-known phrase has spread all over the world and was even quoted by Abraham Lincoln in a speech in 1859.
More recently, it’s been proven true in my own life. I lamented in January and February about the weather, the amount of snow and my general thirst for warmth, sun and summer. As I looked out over the vast amounts of snow at that time, I remembered that little phrase, this too shall pass.
And sure enough, this past week we have experienced warmer weather and the disappearance of our accumulated snow. I’ve even been wearing shorts and flip-flops! Sure enough, winter has passed.
I would extend this sentiment as well into our current realities - the COVID world we know too, shall pass. The days may seem long, they may be challenging but there is coming a day when we will no longer require to distance ourselves as we do now. In short, take heart because this season of life, like the winter, ‘too, shall pass.’
I’d go further and extend this phrase into my understanding of our earthly lives. They too shall pass. In Matthew 24, Jesus teaches His disciples about what things will look like at the end. He describes some of the things that Christians are to look out for, some of the signs that we are to be watchful for, so that we can be ready to meet Jesus when He comes back to redeem His people for the final time. Using the illustration of seasons, He explains, in verses 32-35 (NLT):
“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.”
Paul echoes this in His letter to the Corinthian Church (1 Corinthians 7:30-31 NLT):
Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not an alarmist proclaiming the end times. But I am reminded that seasons change and things pass, including our earthly lives. We all look forward to the days when we can go outside and share with one another again. Some of us are already keen for that day. But let’s not forget that this life we know, too shall pass. There is a brighter day coming, when Jesus will return. For those of us who know Christ personally, who have believed in our hearts and called on His name, it will be pure joy.
For me, I look forward to that day. But until then, I’m committed to seeking the will of God through personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I‘m committed to growing in my understanding of scripture, to spending time with God daily, and to sharing the gospel message of hope with others. I hope you can say the same.
Back in the Persian poem, the king who commissioned the ring received it and was thrilled at first. He would look at it when he was sad, and sure enough, the words would remind him that whatever situation he was in, whatever sadness, would pass. However, in times of happiness he would look to the ring and be reminded that it would not last either.
I pray that we too would be reminded in these days - whether happy or sad - that as Christians, we look forward to a day when Jesus returns to take us all home to live in paradise with Him forever.
Until then, stay safe, and be encouraged. This too shall pass.