Life’s a journey and sometimes a sprint, detour, or shortcut. Many travel the same path but different shoes. Ever heard this quip, ‘don’t judge anyone until you’ve walked a mile in their flip-flops’? Or is it moccasins? Anyway, I think that’s pretty accurate. In fact, we don’t understand completely, unless we experience (something similar to) what another person goes through. Quite often, we discover recovering alcoholics gain sobriety with the help of former-drinkers. Works the same with any addiction, I suppose. Let’s face it…we’re all needy. Some may be less broken than others, but broken just the same.
Last night, I ran across a quote by Francis Bacon (1625 Essays). In essence, he said that if prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New. To be sure, the apostle Paul suffered many hardships…to the point of death “that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8 NKJV). However, Paul allowed these sorrows to become gateways for a deeper faith in Christ. They prepared him to counsel believers more effectively, and today we are beneficiaries of his wisdom. Of course, Paul put to ‘good use’ his times of despair because God upheld him (2 Cor 1:3). Likewise, we can change our own tragedies into blessings and help other people. My former pastor used to say, ‘I’m just a beggar, telling another beggar where to find bread’. That’s our game too.
For the record, adversities may be categorized as training rather than punishment (Hebrews 12:11). When we face hardships, and we will, there is a Friend (the God of all comfort) to help us “He comes along side us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us” (2 Corinthians 1:3 Message). Get ready dear friend. Whether young, old, rich, poor, skilled, unskilled…life happens. It’s true, heartaches may endure through the night, but a brighter day emerges. His mercies are new every morning and perfect in every way.
In conclusion, like the apostle Paul, we can allow miseries to make us productive in another person’s life. How might we turn our disappointments into a positive experience?