We’re you glued to the TV during the Olympics? A large portion of the world’s eyes focused on Great Britain as they hosted the Olympic games. The Games reminded me of the British phrase “keep a stiff upper lip” that communicates the idea to “remain resolute and unemotional in the face of adversity, or even tragedy.” Although it isn’t a common American phrase we do value the concept to “be strong”, “get tough”, or “stand firm” during difficult times and events.
This past February we wrote a blog titled “Sacrifice? No. Joy!” The premise is that we don’t really feel we are sacrificing anything but that we are joyful in all that God is allowing us to go through now and in the future, for Him. But that doesn’t mean that what we are experiencing now and will experience in the future isn’t difficult. It is difficult, and it will be difficult.
It will be painful when we depart the US to live in Ghana. The loss of nearness to our children, family, friends, and church will be difficult. New friends will be gained and that will ease our aching hearts, but it doesn’t provide the comfort of the grieving we are now, and will experience. As our friends become grandparents they will enjoy seeing their grandchildren often and we will not. We will not be nearby to help our siblings as they provide care for aging parents. And what of the numerous birthdays and other celebrations of our family and friends? Uh huh, we will miss those too. This is and will be hard. And people will tell us to “keep a stiff upper lip”, but we do not rely on our own ability for strength, peace, and joy.
Our strength, peace, and joy, our ability to deal with the loss of connection with our children, family and friends, comes not from our inward ability to “keep a stiff upper lip” but comes from our faith in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Only by Him and through Him can we deal with the difficulties and hardships of our losses. It won’t be easy. In all things, easy or difficult, we know that we can do them through Christ who strengthens us. It is this truth we trust and that gives us the courage to go forward.
“For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal”. – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18