Choose Your Dictator

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There is an old legend known as “The Tale of King Solomon’s Ring.” This is not a Biblical story, but one handed down through the ages. King Solomon was said to be the wisest man in the Bible and one day, he summoned his faithful servant, Benaya and sent him out on an almost impossible mission. Solomon requested that Benaya find a ring that could transform a sad person into a happy individual and a happy person into a somber person. Benaya spent several months searching out this unique ring, but after traveling the land with no success, he was ready to give up.

Then one day, Benaya came across a small workshop where he discovered a poor metalsmith. Having nothing to lose, he explained his mission and asked the owner if he happened to have such a ring? Yes – he had this particular ring, and from a boxful of baubles the dealer took a plain silver ring and, after engraving some words on it, he gave it to Benaya, who read the inscription, nodded wisely, and headed back to the palace.

The ring was presented to King Solomon who was delighted that Benaya had delivered the impossible.

Inspecting it, he read the inscription and let out a melancholy sigh. Inscribed on the ring was this phrase: “This too shall pass.” Solomon ‘got it’ – everything in life is temporary, the good and the bad. This age-old narrative was passed down through lifetimes, reminding us that the best of times shall pass, as will the worst of times.

It brings to mind a passage from the Charles Dickens book, A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Those lines could have been written today as we are certainly living in trying times on every front. But think about this – what we do when we’re jubilant or in despair will determine our destiny! “This too shall pass” certainly doesn’t mean we sit and do nothing!

I remember years ago when our church was going through some rough times; my husband kept saying, “They can kill us, but they can’t eat us!” Comforting words – not!! But one day, I discovered “it” – a verse in Psalm 27 written by King David, who was also apparently going through a hard season. Here’s what he wrote: “When the wicked, even mine enemies, came upon me to eat up my flesh….” Yikes – this was a new revelation for me. I had to inform my sweet Bob that indeed they can not only kill us but apparently eat us too!

But, the good news comes in the following verses: “Through a host should encamp against me, through war should rise against me, my heart shall not fear…for in the time of trouble He shall set me up upon a rock and now shall my head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me….” That’s my God!! People may seek to destroy us and our beliefs, but all is not lost because ultimately, God is our light and our salvation. The darkness will lift. This too shall pass; just keep moving forward!

We all have to choose a dictator. We can allow fear to dictate our decisions, or we can let faith dictate our decisions. As always – our choice! But the truth is, there is no crown without a cross, there is no joy without sorrow, and there is no victory without a battle! Ecclesiastes reminds us that there’s a time for everything – a time to be born and a time to die, a time for war and a time for peace, a time to mourn and a time to dance…that’s life. As the late, great Ann Landers said, “Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.’ Then repeat to yourself the most comforting of all words, ‘This too shall pass.’”

When you wonder how in the world you will ever get through whatever problem you happen to be facing, just think back – remember your history – all you’ve been through in days gone by, and here you are! I’m sure there were times when you thought you wouldn’t survive, but here you are. I had to laugh at a quote I recently read by Josh Groban: “When I feel confused or depressed, I remember back to junior high and I silently repeat, ‘This too shall pass.’” So funny! Is that a great quote or what?! Junior high! Yep – that too has passed and yes, we did indeed survive!

Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you can contact them at DPCityChurch.org.

Susan Beckett | The Dwelling Place City Church

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