The clich?s usually come thick and fast when bad times hit. It is not always clear why we respond the way we do but the fact is that we often talk about things that we do not necessarily believe and often wonder if they really add up to make any sense..
“With every dark cloud comes a silver lining.” Does this really help when you are hurting? Is there a good think in every disaster? Do I need to hurt to realize a great opportunity?
“An apple a day will keep the doctor away.” I am already sick and you think eating a few apples would have made a difference? What if I do not care for apples or they are not available in the market except in season? What comes in an apple that will not come with eating correctly, getting regular exercise, and reducing stress in life?
In this and a much broader context Solomon adds his proverb. “Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.” (Proverbs 18.16) I start to criticize and find myself stopping because I can think of al the instances where I have found this to be true.
Life can be difficult. Living is often very painful. The future is shaped by the present; with the difficulty and the pain it is often hard to sense hope in a way that is tangible, believable, and real. And in every moment comes a unique opportunity for the people present. What will we do? Will we express hope? Will we make a decision of trust?
It is in the present that I find models of opportunity. I see some that listen so that they can understand and make a difference. Others reflect and then use their insights to give away the very gifts that they received from God; things like compassion, mercy, and acceptance. Models hear and see God working in the lives of those around them and from this they grow in their own understanding.
Every experience – good, bad, ugly, beautiful, and mysterious – is an opportunity; learn.