The other day, I was trying to find a certain necklace to wear, that my husband had gifted me for a previous birthday present. As I looked through various boxes, I was reminded of why I haven’t worn it in a long while. Its delicate chain had become thoroughly tangled with another necklace and a bracelet. And trying to untwist a mess of jewellery had not been on my top priority list lately.
Still on this particular day, I decided it was time to tackle the tangled mess of necklaces. With cocktail sticks, I gently pulled bits of chain apart to see where they were twisted together. Bit by bit, I could move the individual chains and see where I needed to pull or lift parts of each jewellery strand. I think the whole process took about a half hour and every few minutes, I would say to myself, “This is such a waste of time,” and “What a frustratingly irritating job to do!” In the middle of the mess, it can be difficult to see how to get out or in my case, get my jewellery separated. After choosing to persevere, my two necklaces and bracelet were finally free. It made me happy after all, to be able to wear my jewellery again and see them free from the massive tangle!
This simplistic illustration reminds me of how, right now and throughout different seasons of life, we can feel tangled. We can get twisted up in our negative thoughts, the state of still dealing with Covid-19, being frustrated at how life and travel has changed, and just the sheer worry of life’s unknowns for our future.
Living in a borough of Greater London, we have now reached more restrictions on seeing people again. It’s all an effort to reduce the spreading of Covid-19 and prevent overwhelming our health service. I understand why certain lockdown measures need to be taken, but I can’t say that I like it. It feels like I can’t plan things with friends and my women’s Bible study group which I just hosted a few weeks ago cannot be hosted indoors or even in gardens or church anymore.
Being really honest, lately I have just felt a bit down with it all. I’m far from the only one. Globally, it’s been so disruptive to life as we have known it before. But in the midst of feeling low and annoyed that there’s a huge question mark in my mind on when we’ll see my parents and extended American family again, God reminded me of the word temporary. This is temporary. It won’t be forever. There is hope and life will go on.
Psalm 30:5 encourages us that, “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” When we feel overwhelmed with emotions, feel worried or depressed, we can cling to the hope that any season of challenge or suffering will not be eternal. God is with us through the hardships and will carry us through them to better times. We will be able to have God’s joy again, even if it takes a long while.
Whatever hardship or struggle you have within your heart today, know that Jesus wants to walk you through it. He knows the burdens you carry and invites you to let Him help you. (Matthew 11:28-30) The Bible teaches that we should expect trouble at times, but we are not left to wander aimlessly through life on our own. Jesus says in John 16:33, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The next time you feel discouraged and really can’t see an instant way out, just remember my entwined jewellery. You might be in a difficult and complicated situation, but remember that it will not last forever. You are only ever temporarily tangled. And our merciful God is in the faithful habit of helping us through life’s twists and turns.
Paul puts it so well in 2 Corinthians 4:8:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
Perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not abandoned;
Struck down, but not destroyed.”
Keep going! Be kind, even to yourself. Widen your perspective. Choose to hope. You will make it through on the other side!