One cannot escape the fact that life is a combination of good and bad, love and hate, freedom and bondage, and brightness and darkness. Man is constantly tossed about by storms and floods. There is no isolation from the cares and tribulations of this world. Even as God sendeth the rain on the just and the unjust, so the sorrow and blessings of life come to all.
Happiness is what all men would seek, and many will go from community to community, from one occupation to another, and from one church to another to find it. But, after all, is man’s happiness hinged on his circumstances? Is it not more how the circumstances are met? “Greater is he that conquereth himself than he that taketh a city.” How true that men who could not control themselves never mastered circumstances.
The Bible story of Ruth, who faced the issues of life squarely and successfully, is an inspiration to anyone who reads the account. In her bright and peaceful days she nurtured a faith that gave her the victory when the tide was running against her.
What shall one’s approach to life be? For one thing, if life is accepted as a struggle and preparations are made accordingly, there will be victories. The child who is reared in poverty will enjoy more happiness with less when he is grown than the child raised in plenty. It is by the way of effort and struggle that strength and ability are acquired. To feel the rough edges of life at an early age is quite profitable. What some people would call difficult, some would look upon as an opportunity and, taking advantage of it, would prove that something worthwhile can come out of it. But, at the best, there will come those periods of sorrow and disappointment. Friends may prove untrue; loved ones may become victims of illness and be taken from us. Our occupations or professions may be set back by forces over which we have no control. Sometimes we undertake a task and find that our abilities are not as great as we supposed, or we may find ourselves unequal to the responsibilities placed upon us. Then comes the question of what to do. How shall one face these matters? Here is where a strong faith in our Maker and in our Christianity can be of untold worth. Many times we see a good Christian whose dearest and closest friend is taken from him through death, but he does not give himself over to remorse. No doubt they feel a continual pain in their hearts, but they also have a conviction in their hearts that their Master has something for them to perform. They cannot sit down and render themselves useless. It is good if they can, with Ruth, accept the opportunities, believing that life still has much in store for them. Good friends are near to help. They should be determined to give the best account of themselves. It is the glorious answer of Christianity to the sorrows of mankind.
When disappointed by failure, there are two ways open for man to take—call it quits or try again. Many great men failed in many things or many times when they were young. But they tried again, and again if necessary, and they accomplished something worthwhile, even in late years. When we see the discouragement and the obstacles that some have overcome, we stand ashamed for having given up so soon. Most anyone can do what others have done.
At some time, many people seem to be enjoying a great deal of happiness. This, too, presents a problem. There are those lesser moments of joy that soon pass away. One must look high for the source of true and lasting happiness. Life has many possibilities, and one must be determined to work them out. Self-pity must be defeated; one must accept the good things that God’s providence offers. The Master opens the treasures of the more abundant life and freely offers them to us all.
The world is so full of a number of things that man should always be happy. Many people are struck with never-wracking pain; they seek rest and find little and are denied much that most people possess, yet they are often among the most grateful and manifest the greatest courage.
Ruth said, “Your God shall be my God.” No soul can be happy or face life’s problems properly without God. When Israel was taken to Babylon, away from their worship and temple, they lost their courage. They lost their song and wept by the riverside. So others have found it in time of trouble and when they departed from their God. Many people lose God and the right attitude in life’s difficulties when pursuing other things, such as, wealth, honor, or position.
In such trying conditions which seem to completely shade God from us, He may be able, if we permit, to work a good work for our souls and restore to us that song of Zion.
Selected Editorials, used by permission
Church of God in Christ, Mennonite
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11