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Articles > Success: > Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

"Is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems."1

Today's Daily Encounter is from the article, "Your Problems Can Become Opportunities," by Edward Chinn.2

Do you know that the "Woody Woodpecker" cartoon started life as a problem for honeymooners?

Grace and Walter Lantz rented a rustic wooden cabin in the forest for their honeymoon. At the first dawn there, a woodpecker started its pounding on the roof. The newlyweds couldn't sleep for the noise. With humor, they heard it day after day. By the time they returned from their honeymoon, they were inspired to create a cartoon character, "Woody Woodpecker." Walter drew the pictures. Gracie became Woody's voice. Years later, at their 50th wedding anniversary, Grace remembered the problem of the noisy woodpecker and said, "It was the best thing that ever happened to us."

Your problem can also become an opportunity.

In 1859, a Brooklyn chemist traveled to Titusville, Pennsylvania, to watch the drilling for oil. He was Robert Chesebrough who watched as the oil drillers cursed a colorless oily residue that stuck to their drills. Though it was a problem that gummed up the works, the oil workers smeared this stuff on their cuts and burns. It helped to heal. Chesebrough took this oily residue back to Brooklyn. By 1870, he was manufacturing what he had developed from that oily problem. He called it Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.

A violent storm posed a problem for the captain of a slave ship. He was John Newton, born in London on July 24, 1725. After his mother died when he was seven, he joined his father at sea at age eleven. After his life went downhill, he became the captain of a slave ship. He transported slaves from Africa to America. On March 10, 1748, a storm frightened him so badly that he called out to God for mercy. The problem of the storm started a storm in his heart. He remembered his childhood faith. Finally that inner storm gave him the opportunity to give up the slave trade. At age 39, he became a priest of the Church of England. He wrote a hymn called "Amazing Grace" to tell how God's love changed his life.

A problem gives your life a jolt and knocks you off your accustomed track. The jolt, however, can send you spinning off in a new and better direction. In this way, a problem can become an opportunity. A brother of Jesus of Nazareth, a man named James3 wrote, "Is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems."4

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to see an opportunity in every problem, difficulty, failure and setback I experience, and with your help, turn it into a blessing for others. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name. Amen."

1. James 1:2 (TLB)(NLT).
2. This article appeared in the Religion in Daily Life newspaper column by the Rev. Edward Chinn, D.Min. Rector, All Saints' Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19114 USA as seen on Clergy Mail List,
3. Mark 6:3.
4. James 1:2 (TLB)(NLT).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.

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