Regardless of the Circumstances
"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."
I love the true story of Fanny Crosby, the beloved hymn writer of yesteryear. When Fanny was a baby, she developed inflammation in her eyes. A quack doctor prescribed the wrong treatment, and as a result, young Fanny went blind.
Fanny easily could have become a bitter person. She easily could have viewed life through the jaded lens of resentment and anger over what had happened to her. She could have been a constant whiner over the injustice inflicted upon her. But she refused to fall into that trap. Regardless of her circumstances, she chose to be thankful and content. In fact, she penned these encouraging words:
“Oh what a happy soul I am,
Although I cannot see;
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy,
That other people don't;
To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot, and I won't.”
THE 33 PERCENT RULE
Sue Enquist, the legendary softball coach of the UCLA Bruins (1989 – 2006), was known for the 33 Percent Rule. In her way of thinking, you can divide people into three categories. The bottom 33 percent of people always whine and complain. These are the folks that suck the fun out of anything and everything. The middle 33 percent have an attitude that fluctuates from good to bad depending on circumstances. They are good to be around provided all is going well for them. The top 33 percent choose a positive attitude regardless of the circumstances. No matter what they are facing, they are joyful, hopeful, and thankful.
Fanny Crosby was in the top 33 percent. What about you?
AWARE AND FIGHTING FOR IT
It is easy for me to slip into the middle category of the 33 Percent Rule. If I am not sensitive to what is coming out of my mouth, I can let negative circumstances make me negative. But, if I will stop and take the time to see that God is over every circumstance, I can choose to thank Him for the adversity and look to see what He is going to teach me through it all.
Every trial is a test. Every hardship is an opportunity to thank God, trust God, and grow strong in your faith. The storm on the Sea of Galilee certainly looked as if it were going to sink the disciples and send them to a watery grave. They awoke Jesus to inform Him of their impending doom. He calmed the sea with a word ... and rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. And those disciples grew spiritually as a result of it all. The adverse circumstances were simply a vehicle to help them see Jesus more clearly, as Lord of all.
Will you take inventory of your life today? Are you living with contentment, regardless of the circumstances? Are you choosing to rejoice and praise God even in the face of adversity? If not, you can start today.
Dear God, please forgive me for whining and griping about my circumstances: my bad job, my terrible boss, my back-stabbing co-worker, my evaporating finances, my bad health, my troubled marriage, my _____________________. Lord, I know that You are over every circumstance and situation. You have allowed this trial to come to me to help me grow and shine for You. I choose to face my difficulties with a song and renewed faith, knowing that You will see me through as I trust You. Thank You, Lord. Regardless of what happens today, I choose by faith to make it a great day! Amen.
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Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.