Thursday, April 18, 2013

How we handle our difficulties will determine our hope!

How we handle difficulties that come our way, usually will determine our outlook on life! We can use them as tools to grow, or our lives to control! (II Corinthians 12:1-10). Difficulties come in many ways, from the world's woes, to financial problems, to loss of loved ones etc! These are life events that will, and do happen.

Most are out of our control, yet how we allow them to effect us, is how they control us. I have heard it said, what ever you give the most energy or importance, is what will determine your day or even your life. There are folks who hold on tight to some life events, even to the point they find no enjoyment or comfort. They are stuck in a sorrow or a loss mode feeling like they are being punished. They take it personally!

Though at times it may seem personal, it is not. Some events happen that have nothing to do with us, yet we take it on as our problem to deal with. Some sicknesses come, that we cannot understand, hits someone who has lived a good life a wonderful, helpful person! We spend more time trying to figure out why, or how that could happen. We just do not understand and get gripped with sorrow and remorse.

Instead we could use these situations as valuable tools to live, tools that push us on instead of keeping us down. There are three wonderful folks that have inspired my life in many ways! Steve, Kelly, and Phyliss all three have or has had cancer. Each one could have given up been defeated or took it personally. They did not, though it was a fearful event in their lives, they used it to live.

I will not say they did not hit some bumps in the road, but they always have a smile or a word of encouragement. They all three exhibited their faith that God had a plan, and they were part of that plan. They could not explain always, they just knew! Phyliss has gone home to be with the Lord, but she left behind joy and victory in how she lived her final days with her family and friends.

I remember going to pray with her when she could no longer attend church, we went, as all faithful folks, to encourage her. What we found was encouragement, though in pain, she encouraged us she was alright. I had never gotten a bigger hug and a smile of life as I got from her that day. We went to encourage her and we left with a sense of awe! She did not have the death of cancer around her as we may think, but a glow of life that overwhelmed us. She went home with a smile a few days later.

Kelly has a wonderful gift of song, and as Phyliss a very uplifting spirit about her. One day found out she had ovarian cancer. A young new grandmother she could have given up and lost hope and missed out on wonderful time with her new grand baby. Yet, though a shock to her and her family, she put that fear of uncertainty back into her faith.

She did not allow the uncertainty of her illness to control her life. Instead it gave her a reason to live, a reason to take what time she may have and love her family and new grandchild. Kelly has been cancer free now for a couple of years and has since began singing again and always has a big hug and a beautiful smile of encouragement for everyone she comes in touch with.

Steven, a young man who never smoked, drank, or lived a life on the wild side,  found out he had esophageal cancer. A young man with a young family and long life ahead, now faced with uncertainty in that life. Though going through all the tests still, Chemo, oblation surgery, etc. he still finds hope. He has not had good reports always and his answer to prayer has not been what he may have expected. But he holds to the fact that God is in control, his prayer is how his life will reflect that.

All three of these wonderful lives had a few things in common, cancer, a desire to live life to the fullest, to leave a legacy of hope to those of us who may one day have to face uncertainty. These folks lived and are living life as the Apostle Paul, in the hope of God's grace being sufficient for them. When Paul prayed and asked God please take this thorn in the flesh away, God's response was "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

When I feel down, when I feel like life is handing me a bill of goods! I think of Phyliss, Kelly, and Steven and no matter what is going on around me, or how I may feel, I think of them and it makes me grateful. Most folks have no hope because their faith is based  on feelings alone and the dispares of life! They need to look beyond only what they see, to the One who is able to restore their hope, Jesus the author and finisher of our faith!