How do we react to trouble? How do we deal with the vicissitudes of life? How do we handle the things that often tumble in on us? Life tumbles in on everybody, young, old, and in-between. Disappointments, sickness, and tragedy appear suddenly and without warning. How do we handle the circumstances of life?
There is a little fable about the gravel path and the rose bud which had fallen upon it. “How fragrant you are this morning,” said the gravel path to the rose bud. “Yes,” said the rose bud, “I have been trodden upon and bruised and it has brought forth all my sweet fragrance.” “But,” replied the gravel path, “I’m trodden on everyday and I only grow harder.”
Some of us react to misfortune and suffering like the gravel path. We grow cold, hostile, and hard. We become bitter and curse the darkness of our circumstance. We mourn and complain about our fate and often fall into despair. We lay broken and defeated by adversity.
Would that we could react as the rose bud? The suffering and pain experienced is the same as that of the gravel path. The rose bud, too, is acquainted with the storms of life; however, out of every experience the rose bud finds a way to use the suffering as a means of bringing forth the sweet fragrance of it’s being.
We do not always choose our circumstances—sickness, disappointment, heartache, pain—for these things have a way of intruding into our lives helter-skelter. But we do have the freedom of choosing how we react to them.
Fanny Cosby was blinded as a little girl, but from her blindness she wrote 442 inspiring hymns, including “Blessed Assurance,” “I Am Thine, O Lord,” and “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.”
John Bunyon, while a prisoner in Bedford, England, wrote Pilgrim’s Progress.
Beethoven, so deaf he could not hear himself play, would bend over the piano, painfully seeking to find chords of beauty.
“A cheerful heart makes you healthy; a broken spirit dries you up” (Proverbs 17:22).