The ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond and jade,
Sit silently on their temple shelves
While the people
Yet the ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond-jade,
Are only silly puppet gods
That the people themselves
~ Langston Hughes
Some people do things completely differently from the way you would do them. It does not mean that they are right or that you are wrong. It means that people are different. There are things that people say which you would probably say in a different way, at a different time. It does not mean that people are wrong to speak up, to speak out, or to speak their minds. Nor does it mean that you are wrong for choosing not to do so. It means that people are different.
Different is not right or wrong. It is a reality. Differences become problems only when we choose to measure ourselves by our difference in an effort to determine who is right and who is wrong. All people are different from one another. Our different points of view shape our vantage point and our vision. Where we sit is a function of where we have sat. What we can see is a function of what we have seen.
Our differences sometimes make agreement difficult to achieve. They should never make us feel wrong or bad about ourselves. Nor should they lead us to believe that what others believe is wrong. Our differences should help us grow in grace and love.
~ Iyanla Vanzant
2 Corinthians 1:8,10: "We do not want you to be uninformed, sisters and brothers, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... God has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us."
One of the most interesting things about this passage is that we have no information at all about this terrible experience which Paul went through at Ephesus. Something happened to him which was almost beyond bearing. He was in such danger that he believed that the sentence of death had been placed on him and there was no escape.
There is an interesting human tendency; a common characteristic most everyone seems to share. When a person has gone through something extremely stressful or unexpectedly traumatic, like open surgery from a ruptured appendix, it will be the subject of our conversation for a very long time to come.
There is a story I once read about two men who met to discuss some business between them in the days of the First World War. The one began the meeting with telling about how the train he had been on was attacked from air. He would not stop talking about the frightening, dangerous, narrow escape encounter. The other said nothing at all, but eventually said quietly, "Well, let's get on with our business now. I'd like to get away fairly quickly because my house was demolished by a bomb last night."
Paul did not talk all the time, at length, about all of his hardships. But Paul did view this terrifying experience, whatever it is he had gone through, as having at least one remarkable use – it had driven him back to God.
There is an old saying that goes, "For every 'one' prayer that rises to God in days of health and well-being, ten thousand rise to Him in days of sorrow and adversity." As Abraham Lincoln said about his being 'driven back to God' – "I have often been driven to my knees in prayer because I had nowhere else to go."
It is often during times of turmoil and misfortune that a person finds out who their true friends are, who their spiritual supporters are, who their heavenly helpers are.
Edward Wilson went with professor Scott on his last expedition to the Antarctic as doctor and zoologist. He endured the terrible winter journey with Bowers and Cherry-Garrard when they went in search of Emperor Penguin eggs (and he was one of the five who reached the South Pole in January 1912. The following words are from Edward Wilson's diary:
The more we try the clearer becomes our insight, and the more we use our thinking faculties the quicker they become in their power of grasping points of truth.
Truths are not things we can pick up without taking trouble to hunt for them. And when we find a truth we really posses it, because it is bound to our heart by the process by which we reached it ... through trouble, difficulty or sorrow ... a man binds it into his life. But what is easily come by is easily lost.
Every bit of truth that comes into a man's heart burns in him and forces its way out, either in this actions or in his words. Truth is like a lighted lamp in that it cannot be hidden away in the darkness because it carries its own light.
Edward Wilson (1872-1912)
Jason E. Royle
Welcome to my blog. I'm an open-minded theologian committed to Christ-like compassion & understanding.
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