Thursday, June 29, 2017

When Things Are Rough

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How should anyone react to the rough and tough times one is facing? I believe that in all things, one should never lose hope but instead be filled with optimism. Nothing by shall any means for anyone to become pessimistic. 

Here’s a story to illustrate how all of us should have the right attitude in life: A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat. "I'm the greatest hitter in the world," he announced. Then he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed. "Strike One!" he yelled. Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down he swung again and missed. "Strike Two!" he cried. The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together. He straightened his cap and said once more, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed. "Strike Three! Wow!" he exclaimed. "I'm the greatest pitcher in the world!" (Hodgin,1994, loc. 1081).

Your attitude determines how circumstances impact your life. The little boy's circumstances hadn't changed, but his optimistic attitude prompted him to give an encouraging meaning to what had happened. There was an instance in the life of David that could teach us how to have the correct attitude during some rough times. In 1 Samuel 30:1-6, the story goes like this: “And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (KJV).

What happened to David and his men was indeed heartbreaking and their reaction was ordinary and reasonable. However, after they were pacified they put the blame on David even if all of them including David were affected. Yet they could not help but to blame him for their misfortune. It was a typical response for anyone to find fault. Someone must receive the brunt of it all. But instead of reacting, he retreated to a secluded place and “…encouraged himself in the Lord.”

This made David a remarkable character. He responded with the tragedy like any other men. He felt helpless and angry. He empathized and cried with his people. But what separated him from the rest was his own ability to rise above it all in spite of the negative reaction he faced from his men. He knew what to do at times like those. He gave us a great lesson to bear in mind: during rough times, don’t give up!

Like the little boy I mentioned in the story, he was like David, not allowing anything to deter him from looking at life from both perspectives. Some of us might call it “fighting spirit.” But the Scripture calls it hope. The most important lesson of them all is this: rough times are God’s opportunity to show His miracles when given the chance. Keep in mind that “God never leaves us nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). Thomas Edison said, I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

What difficult time are you going through right now? Can you do something to change it? If you can, don't wait another day, make the needed changes. If you can't change the circumstance, however, change your attitude; you'll discover that circumstances won't have the last word.

Hodgin, M. (1994). 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking: Fresh, Timely, and
Compelling Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Speaker. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Furr, N. (2011, June 9). How Failure Taught Edison to Repeatedly Innovate. Entrepreneurs.

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