MUCH MORE THAN WE DESERVE
Life can at times throw curve balls at us that totally take the wind out of our sails. Some of these eventualities are totally unforeseen and unavoidable. If we are not careful, it can hurt us for the rest of our lives and keep us in captivity to never regain what we have lost. When you lost your job after having such a fulfilling tenure for many years, you might think that there is no way in which you are going to get such a good employment opportunity again. A bitter divorce might evoke the question as to whether you will be able to trust someone again. Losing all you had on what was once a lucrative business, might make you risk averse to stand up and try something new again.… this is life.
Three weeks ago, I had the unfortunate experience of undergoing an almost 5 hour surgical operation to correct a long-standing problem that caused me severe pain and discomfort . Given the limitation in my mobility occasioned by the surgery, I will be out of circulation for at least twelve weeks. It literally appears as if a pause button has been pressed in my life. This medical eventuality hit me at a time when I least expected it because there was so much going for me to finish strong at the end of the year. Whilst lying in bed in the hospital, it brought into sharp focus quite a few critical questions in my mind, the most prominent one being – what if…? Later that week one of my mentors, sent me the following very profound story that totally changed my outlook towards what I was going through at that time:
The well-known song “ It is Well with my Soul “ was written by a successful Christian lawyer, Horatio Spatford. His only son died at age 4. A few years later, the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871, reduced the city to ashes and wiped out his vast estate made from his thriving legal practice. Two years later he decided to send his wife and four daughters on holiday to Europe. Since he had a lot of work to do, he planned to follow them later. Midway on their journey, the ship they were travelling in – Ville Du Havre, crashed with another vessel, sank and he lost his 4 daughters with his wife being the only survivor. When arriving in England, she sent the famous telegram – Saved Alone. Horatio then sailed over to England, with a great sense of grief, to be with his wife going over the location where his daughters died. On his journey to England, he wrote this all-time classic “ It is Well with my Soul “
THE SHAPE OF OUR VILLAGE
The world population is about 8 billion people. Prof Phillip Harter from the Stanford University of Medicine, led a research team which asked the following question: If the earth’s population was shrunk into a village of just 100 people with all the human ratios existing in the world still remaining, what would the tiny, diverse village look like? These were their findings:
57 would be Asian, 21 would be European, 14 would be from the Western Hemisphere, 8 would be African, 52 would be female, 48 would be male, 70 would be non-white, 30 would be white, 9 people would possess 56% of the entire world’s wealth, 5 would be from the USA, 80 would live in sub-standard housing, 16 would be unable to read, 10 would suffer from malnutrition, 1 would be near death, 1 would be pregnant and only 6 would have a graduate education.
I drew the following inference – if I have access to all the basic amenities in life and do not have to beg, steal or borrow to make ends meet, I am richer than 70% of the world’s population.
THE SECRET OF LONGEVITY
Paul wrote from a prison cell “ I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the secret for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Philippians 4:12-13 (Message)
What Paul is trying to communicate to us, is that the highest form of happiness is contentment. The media and our consumer driven society often capitalize on discontent. I want to admit that in my own life, contentment does not come easy and naturally. I have to make a conscious and deliberate decision to put my circumstances into an appropriate perspective.
The following issues can mess up our “contentment meter “ :
When you consistently compare yourself with others, you lose your own identity and your mission in life will progressively become clouded. Each one of us must run our own race and stick to our own lane.
There is this misplaced belief, which is becoming pervasive in our society that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment; with no inkling of responsibility. Live your life without any expectation that the world owes you something.
The dictionary defines impatience as restlessness; an intolerance of anything that thwarts, delays or hinders. We live in the microwave millennium that engenders an instant mentality. We want it and we want it now!
Life has its highs and lows. Never give up and lose perspective when navigating through a tough and challenging situation. Call to remembrance the journey you have traversed thus far and you will be pleasantly surprised how you have overcome sometimes even bigger challenges then your current set of circumstances. So much depend on you not quitting and standing notwithstanding.
As I reflected on the lives of Horatio Spatford, Paul and the numerous heroes of our faith, I can’t help but to bow down in an attitude of repentance for the days in which I engaged in pity parties and allowed my mind to be afflicted by questions and accusations – why me, my and I? Without any fear of contradiction, I honestly have recommitted myself to be grateful on a consistent basis, for all that I have and internalize the powerful refrain from Horatio’s classic “ …. Whatever my lot, though has taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul.” The mere fact that I woke up this morning, is a profound blessing in itself. Someone, somewhere would give anything to have what I have. Above all, I will forever be thankful to have God on my side, who unequivocally promised – I will never leave you nor forsake you. Life could have been an endless disaster if He was not on our side. This is much more than we deserve.