This, Too, Shall Pass


I woke up yesterday morning feeling a bit blue. 

That's a kinder and gentler way of acknowledging what is really going on inside following a restless night, disturbing and emotional dreams that I couldn't really remember all that well, and a terrible taste in my mouth. 

To be fair, that last thing was due to a late-night snack that didn't agree with me. 

Waking up with all of that going on wasn't fantastic, but the phrase that kept going through my head in the wee hours of the morning was simply this: 

This, too, shall pass. 

I remembered at that moment that there was a song with the same title as the phrase in my head by the innovative modern rock band OK Go, and so I queued it up on my phone and started blasting it away through my headphones on repeat.  

The lyrics that resonated with me go like this: 

You know you can't keep lettin' it get you down
And you can't keep draggin' that dead weight around
If there ain't all that much to lug around
Better run like h**l when you hit the ground

When the morning comes
When the morning comes
Let it go, this too shall pass
Let it go, this too shall pass

So this got me curious... I wondered where that particular phrase, "This, too, shall pass" actually came from.  

I had this notion that it might have some biblical source, but I was wrong.  The most famous use of the phrase came from Abraham Lincoln himself from a speech he gave where he said this: 
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: ‘And this, too, shall pass away.’
The closest thing we get to that phrase in the Bible is from Matthew chapter 24:35 where Jesus says this: 
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Armed with all of this information and the song playing away in my ears, I sat and thought about the impermanence of things, and how it sometimes feels as though the best things in life come and go in such a fleeting way, and the hard things seem to linger. 

And this isn't a true thing at all, but because we tend to internalize the negative far quicker than the positive, it feels true---especially when you're feeling blue and have a taste in your mouth that reminds you of paste and onions.  

When the morning comes
When the morning comes
Let it go, this too shall pass
Let it go, this too shall pass... 

The song on repeat kept repeating the mantra that quickly became a prayer that I was saying over and over again in my head.  And then the words of Jesus came to me along with it:  "Heaven and earth will pass away...but my words will never pass away."  

"Heaven and earth?"  What does that even mean?  Then it hit me:  All that is known and unknown, more like.  Everything I can plan for, and all the things I can't, which sometimes feels like everything. The best things and the worst things.  All of it... will pass away.  

Because when the morning comes... when the presence of Christ comes... when resurrection to new life comes...  everything that smacks of impermanence will pass away, no matter what it is, and no matter how long it feels like it will last. 

And this then is the bittersweet realization that we all must face if we are going to surrender ourselves to the eternal rhythms of dying and rising.  We have to hold it all loosely, trusting that the One who dies and rose is with us in the midst of all of it. 

This, too, shall pass.  When the morning comes--this, too, shall pass.  And there will be newness of life, hope, and a future where Christ has already been preparing a place for us.  

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit... World without end. Amen.   


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Lord Needs It: Lessons From A Donkey

Rapha & Yada - "Be Still & Know": Reimagined

You & Who You Are: Rob Bell on Identity & Transition