Two winters ago I found myself in stuck in my Nissan Quest, not between a rock and hard place, but between a tree and a chain link fence.  It was a snowy evening; I had pulled into a long narrow driveway that had been narrowed even further by snow and cars, so there I sat.  In trying to navigate my way out, I ended up scraping the back right rear bumper on the fence – putting a pretty nasty gouge into the otherwise pristine vehicle. The scar bothered me.  It was an eyesore and I was determined to get it out some time –but that time had never come.

FFWD about 15 months.  A neighbor’s car caught fire in his driveway in the middle of the night and jumped to our beloved Quest and, well the rest is history.  The van was incinerated and totaled (left photo).  After cleaning up the charred remains, all that was left was some of the melted bumper that has fused itself into the driveway (center photo) and now serves as a mini speed bump each time I pull in my driveway.   The largest part of this hardened bumper lava (and the only remnant of the original body color) is the same portion of bumper that had been marred by the fence (right photo).  Hmm, funny how my perspective has changed, looking at the last remaining blob of my vehicle, that the scratch really doesn’t matter much anymore?  In fact, I was kind of glad I hadn’t gotten around to investing the time and money to get it fixed.

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A lot of life is about perspective, isn’t it?  The little dents, dings, scratches and bruises of life, in the big picture, often times are really not that significant.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not downplaying those nagging hard times of life.  Those dents, dings, scratches and bruises are not pleasant, welcome or enjoyable and it’s OK to try to avoid them as much as we can.  Yet, in the grand scheme, that is all they are, little inconveniences.

James tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4).  Perspective here is that hard times help us to grow and mature.    Paul reminds us of the eternal perspective we are to have when in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 he writes:  “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer selfis wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light 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.”

Yep, life is hard at times.  But in those times, keep perspective! The “light momentary affliction(s)” of this life are just preparing us for eternity!