Friday, December 8, 2017

The Tyranny of the Unseen

"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 ~

Chronic illness is hard. Disability is hard. Combine either of those 2 with the holiday season and you have an oppressive month-and-a-half of stressful chaos.

People not privy to the type of lives that our families live have a hard time understanding. To them, it's all about what they can see — the hassle of transporting that child in a wheelchair through the snow; the impossibility of getting that child with autism or ADHD to cooperate with the school pageant; the heartbreak of the hospitalization during the holidays. 

Yet, it's the tyranny of the UNSEEN that is so, so stressful to parents like us. YES, the difficulties you can see are very tough, but they don't affect all of us all of the time. However, the ones you can't see nag at us like an uptight old 1950's housewife, and there's no one going out of their way to help you with what they don't see. I'm talking about the infusions and other treatments that have to be squeezed in amidst the extra demands and that can often be missed. The behaviors rise with the sensory challenges of scratchy clothes, endless blinking lights, and funky pseudo-pine smells. Emotional and cognitive well-being are set on their heads with dysregulated sleep and constantly fluctuating schedules. All of that touching by relative strangers doesn't go over too well either.

In fact, I know a number of parents raising exceptional kids who would just rather have this Christmas season be over with. Are you one of them? 

Photo image courtesy of GuentherDillingen via
Take heart, my friend! Although our struggles are unseen in this world, they matter to that Babe of Bethlehem. That's why He came — to set things right. And though we consider these challenges invisible, they are still a part of this earthly life. They are temporary and passing. It may feel like we are enduring this forever, but we are not. 

Paul's words quoted in today's Scripture passage were to an early, suffering church. Strife and confusion reigned as false teachers sought to undermine what new believers were first taught. Unkind words and distortions about Paul were spread throughout this blossoming community. Relationships were fractured. Sound like anything we parents endure with our kids around the holidays? 

Thankfully, Paul was able to visit these eager, young believers and set things right. His letter, now known as 2 Corinthians, turned their focus to the rock-solid eternal perspective of an unwavering faith that relied fully on the salvation of Jesus, not their own circumstances or attempts to do good. He detailed his suffering, but repeatedly reminded the Church of Corinth that it was passing and meant to grow others as they all march heavenward.

As we wrestle with the difficulties and demands of this time of year, may we also have a change of perspective. Our hearts will be lightened as we remove our focus from the TYRANNICAL unseen to the ETERNAL, HOPEFUL unseen. That is an encouragement that lasts through every age.

Pray with me...

Lord, it is so easy to get discouraged by the pressures of the Christmas season piled on top of the high demands of caring for my child. Remind me that I don't have to live that way! You have already given me the victory over these circumstances through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Your Only Son. Keep my eyes fixed on You and the glorious eternity that is now mine rather than the frustrations and burdens of this temporary life. Increase our family's joy this season as we redirect our every thought towards You.

~ Barb Dittrich

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