Lessons from Suffering Part I
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."1
More than a hundred years ago, a lonely, poor boy from Germany came to the United States. His first job was for four dollars a week as a helper in a tiny store in Ohio. Since the owner allowed him to sleep at night in a big packing case in the store without paying any rent, he was able to save one dollar a week.
His next job at a bank paid him eight dollars a week. Here he slept in a loft over the bank office and continued to save all he could. One day he saw some musical instruments for sale that reminded him how he and his friend back in Germany used to make such instruments. So he sent his life's savings of $700 to his friends in Germany and had them ship a supply of their instruments.
The first shipment sold very quickly. He sent for more and was on his way to becoming a successful businessman. The business this boy started eventually manufactured such musical instruments as pianos, organs, music boxes, and player pianos. It became a multimillion dollar business. The boy's name? Rudolph Wurlitzer. Chances are, had this boy not started out lonely and penniless, he wouldn't have achieved what he did. His difficult circumstances generated the motivation that made him successful.
Life's like that. Because we live in a sinful world, difficult times, economic hardships, business setbacks, sicknesses, sorrows, heartbreaks, and crises come to all of us at some time. When they do, we often feel like we've struck out and failed. However, the only real failure in life is not to get up one more time than we've been knocked down.
The Chinese have two characters for the word crisis—one means danger; the other, opportunity. How right they are! In every crisis there is a danger of becoming better or bitter, or of being defeated or accepting the opportunity for growth. The question is: How can we turn crises and suffering into opportunities?
First, we need to realize that we have a choice. Our difficulties can make us bitter or better. They can become a stumbling block or a stepping stone. They can make us resentful or we can see in them an opportunity to be creative. The choice, however, is ours.
To be continued...
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that your Word assures me that that in all suffering you will provide a way to help me cope. Help me always to find that way and, in so doing, turn my crises into opportunities to grow and become a healthier, happier and more mature person. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name. Amen."
1. Corinthians 10:13 (NIV).