You may be familiar with popular sayings like, “There’s a light at the end of every tunnel,” or “There’s always a rainbow after the rain.” There’s no wonder that people like them; they’re very inspirational during times of difficulty. They bring a sense of hope. Dark and stormy season won’t last forever. The good times are coming. Although there is an important truth enclosed in these inspirational quotes, they lack some major insights. Difficult times always come back around again. There may be an end to your current troubles but there’s always some other issue just around the corner. These sayings are so popular because we are constantly going through difficult seasons and it’s inevitable that when you’ve gotten through one thing, you’ll go through another.
It may sound depressing but it’s true. Not just in our individual lives but throughout the history of mankind. When one war ends, another begins. A nation is well fed, then goes through famine. There is peace and then upset. There is power and there is oppression. Throughout history, mankind has experienced rise and fall. We build nations and empires that don’t last forever.
Why is this? Why is it that empires fall and depression creeps back when you thought it had gone? Why do we persevere through troubles just to have others hurt us again? Recently I heard the answer to these questions through a poem by Robert Frost called Nothing Gold Can Stay. The poet translates some very biblical truths and gives insight into the dilemma of our difficult lives.
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Frost writes about how at dawn nature is gold and perfect but it cannot stay that way. This change it makes is not a good one. Eden sinks to grief. I think that his reference to the Garden of Eden is very insightful because it links to the answers to our problems.
Nothing gold in this world can truly stay because of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. When God created the universe, including the first humans, he created them perfectly. Everything was good. There was no darkness or rain. It was just God enjoying his creation and vice versa. But when sin came into the world (through man), everything fell apart. Now, all that God intended for creation is tainted. Our relationships with God, each other, and all of creation to the very core of our being. Yet, we see glimpses of that initial creation in us and around us every now and then. We still reflect our creator but only in broken pieces. The first green that was gold is the hardest hue to hold. It doesn’t last. And God grieves over this. But we have the inability to get back to the good times before sin.
That is why Jesus came, was sacrificed, and resurrected. Because he was perfect; everything is restored in him and he took on all sin and defeated it. He is the golden way. When our faith is in him we are being restored even though we lack perfection.
When you’re going through a difficult season or the world is crumbling around you, know that there is hope at the end of them. But also know that storms and darkness will come again. The only way that you can find a golden path through them, a path through the hardships, is through Jesus. He is not at the end of the tunnel or after the rain, he is there with you in the darkness and through the storm.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33