It seems that bad news is all around me. When the phone rings I think it is bad news automatically. So life goes. But it has caused me to think about our human response when struck by an arrow of affliction. I don’t mean the little irritating dart, but an arrow plunged deeply into the core of our being.
Some dear friends with whom I attend church, recently received the kind of news that breaks a heart….news of impending death due to a cancer for which no hope of a cure was given…..news of just months to live. Most of us who have lived any length of time, have gotten news that turned our whole world upside down. And, as is always the case, we can respond in several ways. I heard that this person who had been handed his death sentence, was continuing to walk daily, and his attitude was good, and from all outward appearance, things were as they should be.
I love that kind of spunk! It underscores a philosophy of mine about life. I don’t recall where I heard it or read it but it goes like this: “Don’t seek more days in your life, but more life in your days”. In other words, forget quantity, and pursue quality. If we will look beyond the pain, we’ll find incredible perspective…..maybe not immediately, or tomorrow, or next week. But we will find it if we pursue it.
The apostle Paul as recorded throughout the New Testament, learned to glory in his weakness 2 Cor. 12:10 records that he discovered a contentment, even a joy, in the midst of “distresses…persecutions…difficulties.” In weakness, he found inner strength.
I never tire of the story of Joseph. Take a few minutes and read Genesis 50. After being horribly mistreated by his brothers, who sold him into slavery, then being falsely accused by Mrs. Potiphar and placed in a dungeon for years, Joseph never got bitter. I think he had good reason to be bitter, don’t you? But in the end, he told his brothers “God turned into good what you meant for evil”. What an incredible perspective regarding life’s arrows!
Life’s arrows may not change our direction. But they will deepen our character. Again, as always, it is our choice as to how we handle what is dealt to us.
Whatever the arrow that has struck us–terminal illness, physical pain, unfair treatment, false accusations, marital problems, scarring from an accident, the death of a child–we have a choice to make. We can lick our wounds (which is a waste of time) or we can spend all our time wondering why it has happened to us, or we can let our anger and anguish fester. The result of that is bitterness which takes root deep in our being and spreads to all those around us. Bitterness is something we all have to be aware of, and ask the Lord to help us remove.
“Life’s arrows are nothing more than momentary setbacks that help us regroup, renew, and reload.” If we could only see our lives and the arrows that come our way from God’s perspective! If we could only remember that life is brief, and if we have placed our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have eternity waiting for us in a place where there is no sorrow, no sickness, no tear shall dim the eye.
So, what are you waiting for?