Friday, March 31, 2006

Exodus 2:1-22; Psalm 107:1-32;
1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3; Mark 9:2-13

For those of you who know me, I prefer to live my life by the saying, “The glass is half full rather than half empty.” To me, living life with a positive outlook seems to be much better for my health. It aids me in staying focused in the present. Realistically though, we all encounter many challenges that may get even the most positive person among us feeling helpless and lost at times. I’ll take myself as an example.

In 1994, we were told that our daughter, Angie, whom I had been carrying in my womb for 7 ½ months, would not live long, a year at most, since she had a rare fatal condition. To our surprise, the Lord blessed us first by allowing her to stay with us an additional month in my womb, and then again by allowing her to be born alive. She only lived 20 minutes in our arms, enough time for us to take pictures and make memories of her that would sustain us for life.

By February 1995, our second son, Joshua, was born. Born four weeks early, the doctors said Josh had brain damage and that he may not ever walk or talk. In November 1999, Josh had a grand mal seizure. We were told that night by the doctors that they did not know if Josh would be alive by morning; if he was, he may have severe brain damage. Now a fourth grader, Josh has mild cerebral palsy, epilepsy, severe food allergies, and some learning disabilities. Well, for those of you who know him, there is now no “off button.” We can’t stop Josh from talking or running around.

One might ask, how did my husband, Dave, and I deal with such grim news in each of these situations? Honestly, it was not easy at all because the reality is that we were and are only mere humans. We are definitely not made of the same divine material our Lord comes from. But we knew we had two choices. Let the news we received destroy us, or find a way to put our “glass is half full” philosophy into practice. The odds seemed so against us, but the answer came to us through faith that we derived from one of my favorite Bible passages, Exodus 2:9. From it, I believe that focusing on our human predicament may paralyze us because the situation may appear humanly impossible. But concentrating on God and his power will help us see the way out. Right now you may feel unable to see through your troubles. Focus instead on God, and trust him for the way out. That is all he needs to begin his work in you.

In additional, I came to truly appreciate these experiences through another one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Psalm 107:32. From it , I think that those who have never truly suffered may not appreciate God as much as those who have matured under hardship. Those who have seen God work in times of distress have a deeper insight into his love and kindness.

Embracing suffering as a gift from our Lord is probably one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. I know it has made all the difference for me. I look forward to the next challenge our Lord is planning to bless me with. Because in the end, it will be a blessing in the disguise of a challenge!

Chris Hallett

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