TEN SECONDS

I’ve told you this so that my peace will be with you. In the world you’ll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world. [John 16: 33 (GW)]

 Jesus looked at them and said, “It is impossible for people to save themselves, but everything is possible for God.” [Matthew 19:26 (GW)]

angels trumpet Netflix’s “unbreakable” Kimmy Schmidt was kidnapped as a teen and survived fifteen years in a doomsday cult while imprisoned in an underground bunker. Once rescued, she faces a world she didn’t think still existed and for which she is completely unprepared. While this certainly is an odd premise for a television comedy, there’s much to be learned from her naive and optimistic outlook. In one episode, Kimmy (who knows from experience) explains that one can stand anything for ten seconds and adds, “Then you just start on a new ten seconds.”

While at the gym, positioned on hands and toes with my core supporting my body’s weight, I thought about coping in ten second increments. Granted, holding in plank for only one minute is nothing when compared to the challenges people face day to day, but those sixty seconds seemed unachievable when the timer started. Knowing I could easily remain in push-up position for ten seconds, however, I stopped thinking about sixty and just kept counting to ten. What at first seemed impossible, when broken into small increments, became possible.

Any 12-step program teaches the importance of taking life one day at a time. Sometimes, however, even one day seems way too long. When we’re in pain or distress or even trying to maintain sobriety, time seems interminable. While vacations pass too quickly, chemo treatments, grieving, hospital stays, healing, unemployment, financial difficulties, depression and passing a kidney stone don’t go nearly fast enough. Being a Christian certainly doesn’t mean we will avoid adversity or suffering; in fact, suffering and adversity were pretty much guaranteed for the early Christians. Suffering may develop character but, given a choice, most of us would be satisfied without more character building if it involves discomfort or adversity. Moreover, knowing that trials both test and strengthen our faith is of little comfort when we are the ones enduring those trials.

Instead of asking God, “How much longer?” perhaps we need to say, “Lord, as long as you are beside me, I can hold on for now!” We can say that with confidence, knowing that anything can be endured (and endured with joy) because of the power of the Holy Spirit, even if we can only do it one day or even ten seconds at a time.

[ONE DAY AT A TIME, SWEET JESUS (by Marijohn Wilkins & Kris Kristofferson)]
I’m only human, I’m just a man,
Help me believe in what I could be And all that I am.
Show me the stairway I have to climb
Lord for my sake, help me to take One day at a time.
One day at a time sweet Jesus That’s all I’m askin’ of you.
Just give me the strength To do every day what I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord, help me today, show me the way One day at a time.

Be happy in your confidence, be patient in trouble, and pray continually. [Romans 12:12 (GW)]

We ask him to strengthen you by his glorious might with all the power you need to patiently endure everything with joy. You will also thank the Father, who has made you able to share the light, which is what God’s people inherit. [Colossians 1:11-12 (GW)]