Has it happened to you? You get that one greeting card with glitter on it—that one card—and next thing you know, your entire living room is a sparkle-palooza.
Granted, I’m the kind of person who enjoys a good sparkle. Shiny makes me happy. But when I got one of those sparkly cards the other day, there was a sudden, panicked realization that there was more glitter in my living room than was ever on that card. I tried to brush it off, but it refused to be brushed. I vacuumed it. Then vacuumed some more. Still…glitter.
There’s a fear when dealing with glitter—the fear that you will never escape it. Ever. If it’s on your face? Accept that it’s a part of you now. Learn to live this way. Oh, and pass out sunshades to all your friends. They must learn to live with it too.
You’ll also need those shades as protective eyewear. A friend of mine went to her ophthalmologist when her eye felt persistently scratchy for a week. What’s that gleam in your eye? You guessed it. Greeting card glitter. She had to have a little glitterectomy. I asked her if instead of seeing her eye doctor, she should’ve gone to a cardiologist. Get it? Cardiologist?
Really though, how is it that what starts as one sparkly greeting card seems to produce enough glitter to cover that card and eleventy-dozen others? It’s just about more than I can handle.
Then again, what can I really handle? The popular Christian maxim, “God won’t give us more than we can handle” is one we tend to mail out like the trustiest proverb in the prettiest greeting card. But let’s think that one through. Because really, friends, everything is more than we can handle. In our own strength, we have nothing to shine.
First Corinthians 10:13 is often the backup text for thinking we won’t face more than we can bear. “But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it,” (CSB). The passage’s context here, however, is not adversity. It’s temptation. It’s not about the Father delivering from tough challenges. It’s about the Father giving us strength to say no to sin.
There is strength for resisting temptation as we depend on Him. And Paul tells us as well that there is grace for every difficulty. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 CSB).
Embracing His all-sufficient strength and grace when we’re struggling is a way for us to shine. Shining when shining doesn’t seem possible.
Our God is able to take the weakest sparkle and illuminate it with the glory-brilliance of Christ—all across our home, our neighborhood, our city. Sometimes our world. We’re talking about a shine that never fades. Never goes away. Sparkle-palooza, indeed.
Oh, that we may ever learn to live this way.
Still though, a little side note to new first grade Sunday School teachers: there is glitter in your future. All over your Sunday School future. All over your Sunday School classroom. All over you. And it will never leave. I say, lean into it and shine!