No, “This too shall pass,” does not come from First Timothy. In fact, it’s not in the Bible at all, although the idea behind it is. The phrase appears to have come from a Sufi poet or a Jewish fable. The closest the Bible comes to it is 2 Corinthians 4:17-18: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
The troubles and trials of today shall pass, just as those of yesterday did. The troubles and trials of today are things that can be seen – they are temporal –
1 Timothy 6:6 says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
This verse keeps coming up lately. In a book I’m reading about envy and jealousy, in a short film I watched today about material possessions. Sometimes when an idea or verse pops up over and over, it is the Holy Spirit’s way of saying, “Hey, pay attention! I’m talking to you!” Considering our circumstances this year, this seems to be the case for me.
Life is a bit rough here this year. Sick and teething baby, lack of sleep, down times. Happy baby, better sleep, peace times. And back again. Oliver will be ten months old this week and I know that “this too shall pass;” that he won’t always be teething, that he’ll sleep better (and maybe in his own bed) soon enough. That in a year, this time will feel like a blip, that memories of it will be blurred and hopefully more good than bad. I know this because I’ve experienced it before with five other children and the varying degrees of neediness in their first year of life. So, in the middle of these challenging times, what can I do?
Pursue Godliness. Be content. Keep believing that these things will lead to great gain. Keep believing that “this too shall pass.” Because it will. It will. And if I can look back and remember my pursuit of Him and my pursuit of contentment and peace rather than depression and despair, I will have gained.