Getting a Heavenly Perspective on Earthly Problems

Sharon JaynesExpectant Living, Trusting God, When You Don't Like Your Story 21 Comments

My husband woke one morning with a nostalgic urge to revisit the small North Carolina town where he spent the first eight years of his childhood. At family gatherings, he and his twin brother recounted endless stories of playing kick-the-can and baseball in their front yard, which was “at least the size of a football field.”

They recalled long hardwood hallways where they slid sock-footed, that were “at least as long as a bowling alley.” And they itched talking about rolling down grassy hills in the front yard that spilled onto the sidewalk.

So, the little boy in Steve decided to take a trip to his boyhood home and revisit the days of his youth. With map in hand, he drove the three hours, and pulled up to the address on his scratch piece of paper.

He blinked. Checked the address. And sat slack jawed.

The yard he remembered to be “the size of a football field,” was in reality the size of a baseball infield with the small bungalow sitting on the pitcher’s mound.

His hallways “as long as a bowling alley” couldn’t have been any longer than the two boys lying head-to-head. And the “rolling hills” were no more than two humps in the front yard.

Steve spent the day driving from one landmark to another, and each time reality clashed with memory. “Everything is so small,” he said time and time again.

I think back to the problems I’ve had in my life over the past half century plus. At the time, so many of them seemed so big. Football field wide, mountain-high, bowling alley-long. However, looking back, many of those mountainous struggles were really just bumps in the road. I think those problems will seem even smaller when I cross over to the other side.

Paul said this about his own life: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 KJV). I hear my country grandmother in those words, “I reckon.”

I always thought of “reckon” to mean, “I guess so.” But the word “reckon” in the New Testament Greek, logizomai, actually means to count, reason, decide, conclude. It’s to properly compute or come to a logical conclusion. That’s a lot more than grandma’s “I reckon.”

Paul added up all the evidence and came to the logical conclusion: the struggles we’re going through now are small beans compared to what we’ll be enjoying in heaven.

Listen, I know this world can have hardships that seem to suck the life right out of us. I don’t want us to ever think that Paul was glossing over the enormous physical and emotional pain that comes with living on this side of heaven. He wasn’t minimalizing his. He wasn’t minimalizing ours.

One look at 2 Corinthians 11:23-29 shows us that he had been through more than you or I will probably ever experience. He was shipwrecked, snake bitten, man-beaten multiple times, imprisoned, robbed, and left naked on the side of the road. And yet, he says that all his and our suffering will be small compared to the glories that are yet to come for those who know Jesus as Lord.

Maybe you’re thinking, that all sounds well and good, but it doesn’t really help me get through my struggles right now. I get it. Maybe it’s because we don’t think about heaven enough. Let’s think about this place where we’ll live a lot longer than we will live here. No pain. No crying. No suffering. No questions. Beauty everywhere you look. Praise in every sound you hear.

So, what do we do in the here and now when what seems so big will one day seem very small? We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Paul wrote, “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” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV).

Steve didn’t regret his visit to his boyhood home, but it did make him chuckle at the enormity of the memories. I think we might chuckle a time or two when we leave our earthly home and compare our past struggles with our eternal celebration.

Jesus, I can’t wait to be in heaven and spend eternity with You. Until then, help me to keep my worldly struggles in perspective. This life is short. Eternity is long. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

What is one problem you had in the past that seemed so big, that now seems rather small?

Your struggles…your stories…are one of the most amazing tools you have to glorify God. What was difficult for you can become divine help for someone else. Not sure you believe me? Check out my book, When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories. It truly can!


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Comments 21

  1. That is so true. I remember when I went to college. I was married with 2 little children and because of my husband’s cancer diagnosis and grim prognosis, I knew I needed to better prepare myself to be the primary wage earner. So I set off to college after I dried my tears from just putting my baby on the school bus on her first day to kindergarten. Every test, every paper was bathed in prayer as I prepared for my career in nursing. I remember thinking each assignment was “our future “ so the pressure was so real. Now sitting here retired after enjoying a fulfilling career as a nurse, then after completing my Masters degree, a Clinical Nurse Specialist, then nursing professor, those pressures seem so small. God does use our difficult times for his glory when we let him. He’s been with me everyday of my struggles and joys. My eyes are fixed on heaven. I can’t wait to hear Him call my name. Thank you for this precious reminder.

  2. I sure needed to hear this today. I’m going through a divorce and things are so hard! One minute I know I’m doing the right thing the next I second guess myself. My heart hurts so bad. Please pray for me.

    1. Debby:
      I don’t know you and I haven’t been through what you are dealing with now but I will pray for you. I pray you receive wisdom and guidance in your decisions. I also pray God wraps His arms around you and fills you with a peace that can only come from Him. God Bless You Debby!!

    2. Lord Jesus – please be with Debby right now, in this moment, let her feel Your peace and Your presence. Remind her who she is in Christ. Remind her of Your promises. Help her to be encouraged by Your word as it floods her memory and her thoughts, pushing out any lies that may try to fill her mind from the enemy & distract her from You. Help her to trust in You, God. Help her to hold onto Your truth. May she walk confidently into this new season of life knowing You are with her. You are her strength, Lord. She is not alone. Be her Shield. Her Rock. Her Redeemer. Help her to know that one day she will be fully restored. While this time is difficult and uncertain, God we know You will provide. Provide rest, peace, hope, joy and a will to keep putting one foot in front of the other each and every day. This situation has not taken You by surprise. You are fighting for Debby and will not stop. Help her to know she is loved. In Jesus name I pray – AMEN!

    3. Dear Debbie,
      I am praying 🙏 for you & for
      God’s overwhelming Peace that you will be surprised.
      He knows your heart & the needs & I have also experienced His Faithfulness in all that sadness.
      Blessings & Strength

    4. Praying for you, Debby! God is with you. You are a woman of strength and dignity and you have the Lord to guide you with each step.

    5. I am so sorry for your sorrow there are people that do care try to find a local church and make friends, take some classes that seems to be the best way to find good friends that will listen when you need to talk. God will get you through.

    6. Debby – I understand those feelings. In my late sixties I am in the same place as you. It is hard. One thing I am doing is to remind myself constantly that God understands and Jesus is my Boaz. Prayers for you today as you walk through each moment. I have to remind myself that I’m not living in the “what was” but I’m living in the “what is” and the Lord has not abandoned me or you ❤️

    7. Praying for your strength and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Be encouraged that our Father is close to the broken-hearted and those with a contrite spirit🙏🏾

  3. I hope that looking back on my situation right now, that it’ll only be a small bump. My husband and I are meeting with our Pastor tonight to try and facilitate a healthy conversation between the two of us. The goal would be that my husband agree to couple’s counseling to try and save our marriage or separation. We have two toddler boys that I want to protect and I would just like to ask for as much prayer as possible.

    1. Praying for you Becky and your family. May God give you the strength and guidance you need. May God soften your husband’s heart and allow healing in your marriage.
      Blessings and prayers.

  4. Thank you for the reminder. Fix my eyes on Jesus. Yes everything does for so much bigger in the middle of the mess. I could never deal with the whole covid thing if i didn’t help my hope firmly planted in Jesus. There is just too much on my plate right now i have mentally and physically crashed with panic and anxiety. I took a stress week from work. Today was kinda sorting out the whole situation. I did nothing. I hope to use the rest of the week to restore and take care of my physical needs. God promises earlier in 2 Corinthians 4 i am pressed but not crushed. Persecuted not abandoned. Struck down but not destroyed. He is my rock and my fortress.

  5. I have a cousin that has lost her 16 year old grandson in a wreck, Isaiah, her name is Sandy. The whole family is just trying to survive, their last name is Campbell. I have another cousin, Diane, that is watching her youngest daughter in her mid 30’s just cling to life on a vent. Millie has been addicted to drugs for years, she got Covid and she is septic. Another cousin Van that had covid last year and has never regained his strength, has had a heart attack on Sunday, he has 6 blockages and they are trying to find a doctor that can do his bypass. Van’s lungs are still in very bad shape for the Covid he had over a year ago. If you could pray for these families I would really appreciate it. I know they all are facing mountains that God can use for His glory.

    1. Praying🙏for you Sherri, and your family. I’ve written your needs on my prayer list so I can continue to pray. God bless you.

  6. Thank you, Sharon, for allowing God to use you and your life experiences to help build His Kingdom. Your words show your heart and share such a profound message of hope. God bless you.

  7. It is so true, when we’re going through a difficult time in life our problem/s seem huge but as we get through the problem and look back we realise how small the problem was or insignificant. Sometimes our eyes even open and we realise we should have or could have done things differently. Things look so different when one is no longer in the situation , then one can ve more objective.

  8. Please pray for my family as we go through a very challenging Time with my daughter, Jemima, She is 15 and we have just found out that She thinks She is bisexual and has a girlfriend.
    We have set the boundaries and She cannot meet with the girl, as a result She is depressed and angry.
    I am sooo sad and cry a lot and do not know where have I lost her and what I have done wrong. I pray the Holy Spirit convinces her and brings her to repentance.

  9. I love this! I too remember doing that same thing going back to my childhood home. Remembering it was so much bigger than it actually was.
    I struggled with infertility for 9 years which was excruciating at the time, before being blessed with three boys, one by adoption and two by the natural process. Looking back 25 years I don’t feel any of the pain. It is so small in comparison to the joy I’ve experienced. I can only imagine how wonderful it will be when we reach out heavenly home.

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