“IF YOU ARE DISTRESSED BY ANYTHING EXTERNAL, THE PAIN IS NOT DUE TO THE THING ITSELF, BUT TO YOUR ESTIMATE OF IT; AND THIS YOU HAVE THE POWER TO REVOKE AT ANY MOMENT.” – Marcus Aurelius
Count Your Blessings – A Great Story!
Two women who had been friends for years but had lost touch ran into each other while out shopping one day. In an effort to catch the other up on her life, one of the women said, “We were blessed with the fire in the attic last year. The fire didn’t destroy that much, but the water and smoke damage was extensive.”
“Why that’s terrible!” the other woman replied.
“Oh, no! It was a real blessing,” the first woman countered. “You see, the house had been in my husband’s family for years and was badly in need of renovation. The fire forced us into doing what we’d been putting off, and once all the repair work was done and we were able to move back in, it was just like moving into a brand new home.”
“Oh, I see. I guess that was a blessing after all,” the other woman agreed.
”A big one. Then another blessing came when my husband, Jack, tripped over some wire left by one of the contractors and broke his leg in three places.”
“Oh, come on now. How could that be a blessing?” the astonished friend asked.
“Because while we were at the hospital getting his leg set, a tornado came and blew the house away.”
“Oh, no!” the friend declared, and then a moment later added, “Okay, I understand you were spared, but losing your home like that, why that’s nothing short of tragic! I frankly don’t see where you find the blessing.”
“But that was the biggest blessing of all, you see, because after we cleared away the debris left by the storm, we found a small underground cellar where my husband’s grandfather had secretly kept an antique coin collection worth a sizeable fortune. We always knew there was a collection and that it was valuable, but until that tornado revealed it to us, no one ever knew where it was. Now we’re rich!”
As the story illustrates, even those experiences we deem calamitous can carry the seeds of a greater blessing. It is often only in retrospect, however, that the benefit reveals itself. And whether or not it reveals itself and how quickly it does so, is dependent upon only one thing: our own individual perspective. We determine whether something will be a blessing or a curse by the way we choose to see it.
Life is an ongoing process, and most of us meet something at almost every turn we wish were different. Just because something is not turning out the way we want, doesn’t mean it won’t.
While the story of the two women may sound far-fetched, we all know people who have suffered tremendous setbacks only to look back years later and declare the experience to have been a blessing.
Become a hunter of blessings, actively seeking them out in every experience and person you encounter. No matter how bad a situation or person might seem, say to yourself and mean it, “There’s a blessing in this, and I will find it!” Follow this regimen for a while and you may very well discover that you’ve poked a hole in every problem and sent every misery packing.
When the apostle James wrote to the members of the early Christian church that they should “count it all joy,” he had a good reason for doing so. He understood, as did Benjamin Franklin nearly 2000 years later, that life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it. And when you take life as a blessing, it tends to become one.
At this point someone might be asking, “How can staring death in the face be viewed as a blessing?”
That’s an excellent question!
Some might answer, “At least the pain and suffering will finally be gone.” And that is certainly true. However, it’s a very shallow and hollow answer when the reality of eternal death is ignored.
Christians, those who believe in and trust Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord of their lives, view death as the ultimate blessing because they know where their eternal destination will be:
“Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth; for the first Heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’
And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’ Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.'” (Revelation 21:1-8)
We determine whether something will be a blessing or a curse by the way we choose to see it.
How do you see your eternal destination?
If you don’t like what you see, it may be time to make some serious changes now while you still can!
See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!