When Things Go Wrong
A doctor friend of mine tells about a family where the mother broke her arm. The husband and son had to force her to the doctor and hold her while the doctor put her badly broken arm in plaster.
"There's nothing wrong with my arm, Doctor. It's perfectly all right," she insisted.
"I see," said the doctor setting the badly broken arm. Several weeks later the woman returned to have the cast removed and the arm was healed.
"There," said the woman, "look at that. I told you there was nothing wrong with my arm!"
This woman was of a certain religious conviction which led her to believe that there was never anything wrong with her. Fortunately, her family was a little more realistic. We also need to be realistic about our problems if we are going to resolve them.
Acceptance. Furthermore, whatever happens to us needs to be accepted. It's no use saying, "If only."
Several years ago a close family member suffered a massive stroke and was left partially paralyzed. Learning to walk, read and write again as much as possible was painstakingly slow and difficult.
We can alter our lives by
altering our attitudes.
Doctors felt that the stroke could have been avoided so it was extremely tempting to say, "If only we would have known."
However, it's useless to say, "If only." Our family couldn't go back and do things differently. We had to accept the reality of what had happened, pick up the pieces, and go on.
"What do you do and how do you cope?" people have asked when things have gone wrong in my life.
First. Express emotions. For one thing, I've learned not to deny my feelings, so when I'm hurting, I cry. God not only gave us laughter to express our joy, but tears to express our hurt and sorrow. Crying has a healing effect. It soothes the soul. Plus, when I'm frustrated, I share my feelings with a friend. Or if I'm angry, I share my feelings with the person I'm angry at or I write them out and throw away the piece of paper.
Second. Give thanks. I constantly make a point of giving thanks to God for the many good things in my life which far outnumber my few problems.
Third. Trust God. I have learned to trust God—not always without doubt or confusion. I don't always understand why bad things happen. However, one thing I do understand, while Satan and his forces of evil want to use my circumstances to try and destroy me, God wants to use them to strengthen me. The choice is mine.
The only times in my life when I have grown have been during difficult times. Who wants to change when everything is going well? Also, if there is any quality to my writing and other work, it has all come out of life's struggles.
While I don't believe in quick fixes or simplistic solutions to life's complex problems, I do know that God teaches us many lessons through difficult and challenging times—if we let him. In spite of outward appearances, I also believe that "in all things God works for the good of those who love [and trust] him"1—even if it is eventually!
Can you accept your difficulties as opportunities to grow and ask God to show you what he wants you to learn through them? If so, your life will be greatly enriched.
1. See Romans 8:28.
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