Why is it that we seem to think the Christian life is supposed to be a bed of roses? Even if it was, let me remind you that roses have thorns and you might get pricked. In John 16:33, Jesus tells us that in this world we will have troubles but to take heart because He has overcome the world.
“Doesn’t that drive you nuts?!” She asked.
“What do you mean?” asked the lady in blue.
“That phrase ‘small potatoes’… I mean, why ‘potatoes’? I don’t even like potatoes. Why can’t it be, ‘small cucumbers’ or ‘small kiwis’?” The first woman’s nose scrunched as she said this, clearly making an extra effort convey her exact opinion of the matter to her friend.
“Why should it drive me nuts? I like potatoes. Besides, it’s just a figure of speech. An idiom,” she lady in blue cooly replied.
“I know that,” exasperatedly replied the first woman. “I don’t like potatoes, so obviously there has to be an idiom about potatoes just to throw salt on the wound. It just seems like everyone and everything is against me, including God.” At this point, the woman sighed and resigned herself to the drink she purchased.
Both women sat in silence for what seemed like an hour. The woman took another sip of her drink before taking another deep breath and exhaling all the air she possibly could out of her lungs. The lady in blue gauged her timing and allowed her friend the space to gather her thoughts before she spoke again.
“Ok. It isn’t about the potatoes,” she sighed.
“I gathered,” the lady said with a half-smile.
“I know you do, that’s why you’re my friend. You always know.”
The lady in blue sat in her own silent wisdom for another few moments. It wasn’t easy seeing her friend like this, she knew, but being there for her friend (thick and thin) was small potatoes compared to the eternity of no more tears and no more sorrows the Bible promises.
“I know it’s difficult to see a solution or to even hope for the best in what you’re going through, but you must trust that God has your best interest in mind and there’s got to be something in this season that He wants you to understand with your full heart.”
Her friend scrunched up her nose again. This told the lady in blue that she had hit a nerve and they were now at an impasse– it all depended on how her friend was going to receive it.
It’s a start, thought the lady in blue. Her friend was at least considering the notion that all her emotional pain has a redemption plan.
Quietly, the woman spoke up again. “I still don’t see how my biggest struggle of my life is small potatoes. It’s almost insulting, like God doesn’t understand or care what it’s doing me.” Her hand made a fist in her lap and she choked down the bitter tears.
The woman’s countenance slumped into defeatist mode. She sighed and decided that the tears would be OK so long as there weren’t any heaving sobs to accompany the display of hurt. This was the lady in blue’s cue.
“God doesn’t see your situation or pain as small potatoes. He is very familiar with your pain, probably more than what you could know. There is something He wants to show you, but you’ve got to be brave and hopeful that on the other side of your situation isn’t ruin, but glory. And besides, I’m here for you too,” she added, bringing some levity into the conversation.
She could tell her friend was mulling over her words. It still didn’t sit right with the woman, nor did it seem to assuage her pain. Before the lady in blue spoke again, the Lord gave her a reminder of the verse she had read that morning. She smiled and said, “I know you don’t like potatoes, but God loves you so much that He’ll take something you don’t like and work it out as a blessing in your life.”
The woman shook her head in disbelief and muttered, “How?” The lady in blue pulled out her phone and opened the Bible app on her phone.
“Here,” she said, “this was today’s verse of the day on my Bible app. The Lord reminded me of this and I believe this message was meant for you.”
The woman took the phone from her friend and began to read 2 Corinthians 4:18 (MSG).
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
Slowly, a visible peace settled on the woman. For the first time in a long time, the woman looked at ease. It was going to be a battle, she knew, but it wouldn’t last forever. She took heart in the promise that God spoke into her heart– that although she cared nothing for potatoes, figurative or otherwise, she was known and loved by the One who loved to turn hardships into triumphs.
“Small potatoes,” the woman sighed with a subtle smile.
“Small potatoes,” replied the lady in blue.
* * * * * *
Friends, I hope you were encouraged by this short story. Often times the difficult seasons in our lives are definitely not small potatoes to us. But nothing is too big for God to handle nor is anything too small to go unnoticed by God. He loves us deeply and intimately. Take comfort in the knowledge that whatever you’re going through, it has a definite end. It has a purpose. It does not go unchecked or unnoticed by our Father in Heaven. Put your trust in Him and you will not be disappointed!
We believe all people should be unconditionally loved, accepted, and forgiven. This is a core value of a church I attended for several years before moving and calling Restoration home. Although it is the core value of one particular church, I think it really is a message we call can live by.
After all the years I have been a Christian one would think that I wouldn’t be surprised to realize again just how much God really does love me. It is when He does something for me that I know I do not deserve and that I certainly did not earn that the words of Ephesians 3:18 come to mind.
It’s just too hard. There is no way I’m ever going to get this done.
I hear that a lot. I hear it in my own head especially but I hear it from others too. It’s that sense of finality… that idea that what lies ahead is just too great for me to handle; that it’s not even worth my effort to fix; it’s just too hard.
You aren’t the only ones who have felt that way.
At the beginning of the year my church, Restoration Church, does a three week fast. I participated this year and one thing I heard God saying was, “Deeper. Give me all of your heart. I want you totally devoted to me. I want to be your first love, your passion.” That is a tough one. I still ponder exactly what He means.