After months of sorting and packing, planning and scheduling, painting and cleaning, we're done moving. We're in our new house, unpacking boxes, trying to remember which cupboards we put things in, and hoping the young parents who bought our old house enjoy raising their kids there as much as we did. Mostly, we're just happy the move is done.
But not quite.
During the months leading up to our move, I fell into a certain pattern of thinking. "Oh," I thought when driving along the bumpy gravel road that leads to our old house, "the road to the new house will be so much nicer." Or when I had to carry groceries from our unattached garage into the house. "It'll be so much easier to carry groceries into the new house from our attached garage." Or while struggling in the old house with the linen closet door that always sticks, saying to myself, "Life will be so much better in the new house where the doors don't stick."
And so on.
But after a few days in the new house I discovered it's hard to go from sitting to standing on the bathroom's very low toilet. There's an icy spot outside the front door that's mighty treacherous. And the closets that looked so big when they were empty, don't hold nearly as much as the ones in the old house did. Moving, I discovered, did not solve all of life's problems. How was I lured into believing it would?
Because I'm human.
Part of being human is succumbing to the false belief that the green pastures lie on the other side of the fence. Or in a new house or in the new year. Or in a new therapy, a new doctor, or a different school for our kids with special needs. "Once we get there," we tell ourselves, "and begin this or or that, life will be free of problems."
But it never is.
Yes, a change can solve some problems and eliminate others. But every new house has its own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Every new year hides unforeseen troubles. Every successful therapy results in more areas for remediation. Every doctor discovers a new anomaly to pursue. Every new school comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Challenges hide beyond every promising step forward.
God knew this would be true since before time began.
In John 16:33, Jesus prepares the disciples for what will happen after their arrival in Jerusalem–the Jewish holy city in a holy land flowing with milk, honey, and green pastures. He tells the disciples that "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
What an amazing, realistic, unchanging truth!
Every new house, new year, new therapy, new doctor, and new school comes with its own set of trials and tribulations. Even so, we can take courage. As parents of kids with special needs, we will battle new problems every single day. But the war has already been won.
Jesus has overcome the world.
In fact, God has not only overcome the world. He is also transforming our momentary light afflictions, and those of our children, into an eternal weight of glory. I can't imagine what that glory will consist of, but I know it will be far greener than the greenest pastures in this world. Brighter than a shiny new house. More satisfying than the clean slate of a new year. More therapeutic than a promising new treatment. More successful than the best of schools.
Jesus is the solution to our problems.
He can and does use the things of this world, the world He has overcome, and the people in it to solve some of our problems. But He wants us to rely upon Him, not the world He has overcome, in every challenge we face. He wants the best for us and for our children. And His best is not a new house, a new year, a new treatment, a new doctor, or a new school. His best is for us to rest in Him when we face trials and tribulations. Because He alone has overcome the world.