For reading & meditation - 2 Corinthians 4
"We are handicapped on all sides ... we may be knocked down but we are never knocked out!" (vv. 8-9, J. B. Phillips)
Why is it that while the same things can happen to us all, they may not have the same effect upon us all? The same thing happening to two different people may have entirely different effects. Why should this be so? It depends not so much on the circumstances, but on the "inner-stances" - or, in other words, our inner attitudes. As someone has said, "What life does to us in the long run depends on what life finds in us." Life's blows can make some people querulous and bitter, others they sweeten and refine; the same events, but with opposite effects. The Gospels tell us that there were three crosses set up on Calvary on the first Good Friday. The same event happened to three different people, but look at the different results. One thief complained and blamed Jesus for not saving Himself and them; the other thief recognized his own unworthiness, repented of it and found an open door to Paradise. Jesus, of course, saw it as the climax of His earthly achievements and made it the fulcrum on which He moved the world. What counts, therefore, is not so much what happens to us, but what we do with it. The same sunshine falling on two different plants can cause one to wither and die, while the other will blossom and flourish. And why? It all depends on the response the plants make. Although, of course, they both need water, one plant is more suited to hot sunshine than the other, and therefore responds with more life and growth, while the other shrivels up and dies.
Gracious heavenly Father, write this precept upon my heart so that I shall never forget it: it's not so much what happens to me, but what I do with it that is important. Thank You, Father. Amen
For Further Study
1. What was Paul's testimony?
2. How did he sum up his life?