There are challenges all over the world over which we have no control.
Forces of nature number among those.
When Hurricane Ian came through, slowly, with a proliferation of rain, nobody knew exactly what to expect. The anticipated course was going close to Tampa, Florida.
It went further south, totally destroying Fort Meyers and taking out the bridges that led to Sanibel Captiva Islands.
They weren’t ready for that huge impact.
There was the absurd in the midst of the tragedy. We had kayakers on our street, paddling up the block. People rode inner tubes on the ponds by us because the winds caused waves that looked oceanic. Impromptu ice cream parties took place when the power went out in various areas, and eating was preferable to wasting.
Might as well use what you have.
We can’t control our situations or prevent hardship from happening. People can blame whomever or whatever they choose for bad fortune, but it doesn’t change the fact that this world is a harsh and demanding place in which to live.
We can, however, control our attitudes toward our circumstances.
Charles R. Swindoll, author, and pastor, said,
“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable…I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent of how I react to it. We are in charge of our attitudes.”
The great statesman Winston Churchill agreed with this perspective. He said,
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Life is full of consequences that will always let us down. We will be faced with disappointments, heartbreak, and sadness that can be paralyzing.
We determine how we will face those situations. What our heart attitude will be. How we will allow these challenges to affect us.
The apostle Paul was constantly facing hard circumstances because of his bold declaration of the truth of Jesus. He was beaten with rods, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and flogged to the point of almost death. He was chained to guards in a prison in Rome when he wrote the book of Philippians, a book on joy.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Isn’t that what we all want? Peace? A sense of calm in our innermost being that can’t be derailed by what happens around us?
Life can hurt. It can catch us by surprise. But Jesus promises to be our hope and help in the roughest of places and the hardest of times.
The storms and consequences will exist. But we won’t be alone in them.