Hope In Times Of Trouble

sctousa

IN TIMES OF

Trouble


Dear friend,

The booklet you hold in your hands is

one in a series designed to help you with

practical “hands-on” information in your

personal search for a better life and to

help those you care most about.

No matter who you are or where in life

you are looking for answers—whether it

be marriage, health, parenting, the loss

of a loved one, overcoming an addiction,

or working through stress or financial

problems—there is help available and

there is hope.

We trust this booklet and others in the

Peacefinders series will be a blessing

to you and your family as you journey

through each passage of life.

—The Publishers


HOPE

i n t i m e s o f

Trouble


Copyright © 2011

PROJECT: Steps to Christ, Inc.

302 Foster Road

Fort Covington, NY 12937

Printed in the USA

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,Inc. Used by permission.

All rights reserved.


HOPE

i n t i m e s o f

Trouble

by Victor Parachin

Forty-one-year-old Kathleen Gooley was

engaged, set a wedding date, mailed out

invitations, reserved a reception hall,

contracted with caterers for a festive meal with

friends and families. But two months before the

wedding, the groom got cold feet and backed

out. While she had time to notify guests about

the cancellation, Gooley was responsible for the

$4,000 bill issued by the caterers. In a moment of

inspiration and remarkable generosity, Gooley


2

decided that others should benefit from her

misfortune. She decided to throw a party for the

homeless. So, on June 24, 1990—what should

have been her wedding day—Gooley arranged

for bus loads of 150 homeless men and women

from southwestern Connecticut to be driven to

the catering hall. Many had not had a hot meal in

weeks, but that Saturday they feasted on elegant

hors d’oeuvres and an exquisite full-course meal.

Although Gooley’s disappointment was

considerable and publicly embarrassing, her response

to this personal crisis was both graceful

and inspiring.

When it comes to disappointment, life treats

each one of us equally. No one lives a disappointment-proof

life. Disappointment, whether

with others or ourselves, is an age-old problem.

One third of the 150 Psalms are of lament

and petition. For example, David cried out:

“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;

My eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul

and my body! For my life is spent with grief ”

(Psalm 31:9, 10). The apostle Paul expressed

disappointment: “For we do not want you to

be ignorant… of our trouble which came to


us:… we were burdened beyond measure, above

strength, so that we despaired even of life”

(2 Corinthians 1:8). The 17th-century British

philosopher Thomas Hobbes declared that

human living is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish

and short.” Even the early 19th-century novelist

Charlotte Bronte lamented: “Why life is so

blank, brief and bitter, I do not know.”

Because disappointment comes to all and

can result in disillusionment and despair, it

is a vital life art to learn ways of managing

disappointment.

Here are some creative and effective ways of

helping yourself get through disappointment.

1

Let Anger Motivate You

Whenever disappointment strikes, one

of the immediate emotions is that of anger.

Remember that anger is an emotion which

can be used as a weapon of destruction, further

complicating our disappointment, or as a tool to

build a better situation. The truth is that anger

can drive us to act negatively or anger can be harnessed

to work on our behalf. Martin Luther was

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one who knew how to utilize his anger. Luther

wrote: “When I am angry, I can write, pray and

preach well, for then my whole temperament is

quickened, my understanding sharpened, and

all mundane vexations and temptations depart.”

Anger is natural following a disappointment, but

it can be released in a healthy, life-affirming way.

That was the path chosen by Candace Bracken.

The 25-year-old Miami, Florida resident had a

new baby and a new job. Then one day she began

hemorrhaging uncontrollably. Acute leukemia

was diagnosed, and Bracken was given two

weeks to live.

After the initial shock began to subside, she

became very angry. “I had taken care of myself,

lived a straight and narrow life. Things like

this weren’t supposed to happen to people like

me,” she said. Then, she just gave up on life and

withdrew. When a doctor told her she needed

to arrange for someone to care for her daughter,

Bracken snapped. “How dare you tell me to find

someone else to raise my child,” she shouted.

But in that moment Bracken realized she had

a strong reason to fight for her life. Her anger,

formerly crippling, now energized her. It helped


see her through a harrowing, but ultimately successful,

bone marrow transplant.

2

Maximize Your Faith

When facing disappointment, minimize

despair and disillusionment by maximizing

your faith. Utilize passages from Scripture

and other inspirational sources to help you remember

that the love of God constantly surrounds

you. Recite and review these scriptures:

• Psalm 46:1—“God is our refuge and

strength, a very present help in trouble.”

• Psalm 46:10—“Be still and know that I am

God.”

• Romans 8:31—“If God is for us, who can

be against us?”

In addition, consider reviewing these types

of inspirational passages to help you maximize

your faith in God.

“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten

you; everything passes away except God;

God alone is sufficient.”

—St. Theresa (1515-1582)

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“The light of God surrounds me,

The love of God enfolds me,

The power of God protects me,

The presence of God watches over me,

Wherever I am, God is.

—An Irish Prayer Card


Or, consider offering this prayer:

“Look upon us, O Lord,

and let all the darkness of our souls vanish

before the beams of Thy brightness.

Fill us with holy love,

and open to us the treasures of Thy wisdom.

All our desire is known unto Thee,

therefore, perfect what Thou has begun,

and what Thy Spirit has awakened us to ask

in prayer.

We seek Thy face,

turn Thy face unto us and show us

Thy glory.

Then shall our longing be satisfied,

and our peace shall be perfect.”

—St. Augustine of Hippo


7

3

Ask a Different Question

Another temptation when facing disappointment

is that of self-pity. It usually

comes through these questions: “Why did this

happen to me?” “How could he say that to me?”

“Why did she do that?” “How can I go on?” The

problem with such questions is that they focus

entirely on the negative. Try asking a different

question. Rather than focusing on, “What have

I lost?” ask, “What remains and where can I go

from here?” A change of question often results

in a change of perspective. Rephrasing our

questions allows us to count the pluses, not the

minuses. Army Major Frederick Franks found

himself staring at a Christmas tree in his drab

hospital room. Although it was a season of joy,

Franks felt only sadness. Seven months earlier,

in May 1970, while he was in Cambodia, grenade

shrapnel had torn into the lower half of his

leg. Doctors were scheduled to amputate it.

Franks had graduated from West Point

where he was captain of the baseball team. He

planned to make the Army his career. Now discharge

seemed the only option. Although Franks

felt he still had a lot to offer the service—combat


8

experience, technical knowledge, an ability to

solve problems—he also knew that soldiers with

severe injuries seldom return to active duty.

They must pass a yearly physical-fitness test,

which includes a two-mile run or walk. Franks

wasn’t sure he would be able to do that with an

artificial leg.

After surgery, Franks was overwhelmed

with sadness over his loss. However, a weekly

baseball game helped him see his situation differently.

At those games, he batted but someone

else would run the bases for him. Waiting his

turn at bat, he watched a teammate slide into

third base. “What’s the worst thing that could

happen if I tried the same thing?” he asked himself.

While at bat, Franks hit the ball into center

field. Waving away his runner, he began a painful,

stiff-legged jog. He got past first base; and

then seeing the outfield throw the ball toward

the second baseman, Franks slid headfirst into

second. The umpire called “Safe!” and Franks

smiled triumphantly. Franks remained in the

army, rising in rank to become a four-star general.

“Losing a leg has taught me that a limitation

is as big or small as you make it,” he says.


“The key is to concentrate on what you have,

not what you don’t have.”

4

Look for the Silver Lining

The apostle Paul declares: “that all things

work together for good to those who love

God” (Romans 8:28). There are two sides to every

disappointment. There is despair and hope;

there is fear and faith; there is bad and good.

Look for the silver lining in any disappointment

which comes your way. Rabbi Harold

Kushner, author of the best-selling book, When

Bad Things Happen To Good People, wrote that

book after his son, Aaron, died at 14 of progeria,

a rare disorder that causes premature

physical deterioration. Looking back upon that

painful time in his life, Rabbi Kushner says,

“disappointment teaches you something about

your strength and acquaints you with your limitations.

That’s an important part of maturity.

If I had not gone through the experience of my

son’s illness and death, I’m sure I would have

had a more intellectual, less compassionate approach

to other people’s misfortunes. It was a

high price to pay, but it has made me a much

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deeper, more helpful person than I would have

been otherwise.”

5

Choose to See Yourself

as an Overcomer

Life does send great disappointments, but

people are greater than their disappointments.

See yourself as an overcomer. See yourself as one

who can rise above disappointment. Our selfimage

strongly determines what we become.

The story is told of a fabulously wealthy king

who had a son whom he adored. The boy was

bright, handsome and perfect in every way—

except one: the youth had a severely hunched

back. This deeply saddened the king, so he offered

a huge reward for the person who could

heal the boy’s back. Wise men and women with

good ideas traveled to the palace from all over

the kingdom. But, months and months passed

without a solution.

Then one day a tiny, elderly woman happened

to be visiting the kingdom and heard

about the problem. “I don’t want your reward,”

said the tiny, elderly woman, “but I do have your

answer.” This was her advice: “In the center of


11

the courtyard you must construct a sculpture—

an exact replica of your dear son, with one exception:

its back must be straight and lovely in

appearance. That’s all. Pray and trust God for

the healing.”

With that offered, the woman left the kingdom

and the king’s artisans set to work. Soon

a beautiful marble sculpture sat in the center

of the courtyard. Every day, as the little boy

played, he was in the presence of the figure.

He grew to admire it and came to realize that

it was a replica of himself. Each day the prince

gazed lovingly at the sculpture, gradually identifying

with the tall, erect person it presented.

Bit by bit, the boy’s back straightened. About a

year later, as the king watched his son frolicking

in the courtyard, he suddenly noticed the

prince’s back was totally healed. The young

boy’s identification with the marble sculpture

had been so complete that he believed it and

saw himself as he could be—straight and tall.

The lesson in that story: our life is what our

thoughts make of it, so we must choose to see

ourselves as overcomers; people who rise above

their disappointments.


12

6

Don’t Quit

Earlier in the century, Ignace Jan

Paderewski, the famous composer-pianist,

was scheduled to perform at a great concert

hall in America. Although it was a black

tie event, complete with tuxedos and formal

evening dresses, present in that high society

event was a mother with her fidgety nine-yearold

son. Weary of waiting, he squirmed constantly

in his seat. The mother brought him in

the hopes that her son would be encouraged to

practice the piano if he could just hear the world

renown genius at the keyboard. So, against her

son’s wishes, she insisted he attend the concert.

While she was preoccupied talking with

friends, her son slipped away where he was

drawn to the ebony concert grand Steinway,

complete with its leather tufted stool on the huge

stage floor. Without much notice from the audience,

the boy sat down at the piano and began

to play “chopsticks.” The roar of the crowd was

hushed as hundreds of frowning faces pointed

in his direction. Irritated and annoyed, they began

to shout: “Get that boy away from there!”

“Who brought that kid in here?” “Where are


13

his parents?” “Somebody stop him.” Backstage,

Paderewski overheard the commotion and

rushed toward the stage. Without one word of

announcement, he stooped over behind the boy,

reached around both sides, and began to improvise

a countermelody to harmonize with and enhance

“chopsticks.” As the two of them played together,

Paderewski kept whispering in the boy’s

ear: “Keep going. Don’t quit. Keep on playing…

don’t stop… don’t quit!”

That’s the way it is with us as we deal with

disappointment and seek to generate hope. We

need to hammer away on our projects, issues

and crises, which may seem as insignificant as

“chopsticks” in a great concert hall. Yet, just as

we are tempted to give up, the Master comes at

just the right time whispering: “Keep going…

don’t quit!” And then, the Master is able to

use what we are doing to improvise and create

something new, something beautiful, something

most unexpected but most delightful.

* * *

So, practice patience. Disappointments often

come suddenly but recovering from them takes

longer. We need to allow ourselves sufficient


14

time for the hurt to heal and the wound to mend.

We need to allow sufficient time for God’s work

in our lives to become complete.

The apostle Peter reminds us: “But may the

God of all grace, who called us to His eternal

glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a

while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle

you” (1 Peter 5:10). The great hymn writer,

Fanny J. Crosby, put it this way:

“Chords that were broken will

vibrate once more.”


Other titles available in

the Peacefinder book series:

You Can Stop Smoking

Addiction Free

Ten Ways to Improve Your Marriage

A Dozen Ways to Defeat Loneliness

Hope in Times of Trouble

Money Management

Stress Management

Survival Tips for Single Parenting

Successful Parenting

Living with Loss

The Healing of Sorrow

Life After Death

Medical Miracle

Gentle Ways to Ease Depression

To order additional titles, visit our online

bookstore at www.peacefinders.org

or call 1-800-728-6872.


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