How Would You Describe Life?
Advice and quotes about life abound, some serious, some humorous, and more than a few infused with sarcasm.
I recently saw the new Downton Abbey movie. As much as I enjoy the Downton Abbey franchise, it’s not my usual go-to source for advice about life. But a quote from the recent movie, Downton Abbey: A New Era, caught my attention. During a scene where she was tempted to be unfaithful to her husband, Lady Mary responded, “Marriage is a novel, not a short story. Full of plot twists along the way.”
From the perspective of a writer, I appreciate the analogy. And not only applied to marriage, but also to life in general.
Life experiences can change faster than the weather, and here in Florida, that’s pretty quick. One moment we’re enjoying life and the next we’re wondering if we’ll ever be able to smile again. The cause might be a phone call from a doctor’s office, the loss of a loved one, or a job loss. It might be news of a prodigal child making yet another poor, life-altering choice. Or it could be a marriage irretrievably broken by the other person’s decision to leave the relationship.
Whatever the cause, the joy and vibrancy of our life drain away as we struggle to place one foot in front of the other. Disappointment shifts to despair, and despair to depression. We feel trapped and hopeless, afraid that this is all there is.
But that experience—good or bad—is merely one chapter in the book of our life. As quickly as things went wrong, they can become right again. And the reverse is true, as well.
The apostle Paul observed, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV). This verse is often quoted in the context of forgetting past failures. But Paul was actually referring to his past successes. Either way, he understood past experiences are temporary and are to be viewed in light of eternity.
Paul made this point again in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, when he wrote, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (NIV).
So don’t judge all of your life based on your current situation. It’s just one chapter of your life’s book. Look ahead to what God has for you. And confidently remember, “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
How would you title the current chapter of your life?