Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Learning Through Adversity - Feb 24

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
(Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Made one of those big life decisions that we all have to make yesterday. I'm going back to school (pending TDSB approval) in April to become a paralegal. The course will end in April 2010. My Dad asked me recently 'Would you rather be back at Tipco?'. My response was mixed. On one hand I would still have permanent full-time work which is a whole lot better than being unemployed. On the other hand I knew that I'd be stagnating in a job that had no hope of advancement and no raise offered in the past five years.

Slaves to Routine

We're all creatures of habit. We slavishly enjoy our routines, do we not? Then something unexpected happens and our lives are turned upside-down. Our initial response? Sheer terror! Then we calm down, assess the situation that has befallen us and begin to pick up the pieces. When I posted about the death of my cat in December '07 I mentioned that one of the most traumatic things that can occur to a person is the loss of a job. Sadly, many are experiencing the same trauma as the manufacturing sector in Canada takes a nosedive.

A Common Thread

When someone goes through a personal crisis questions begin to swirl. I've noticed in these testimonials that there's a common thread: What was important before rapidly fades into insignificance and what was once trivial now is of the utmost importance. A profound shift in thinking has occurred and a chapter in our life has closed. I find that over time people tend to become self-absorbed and oblivious to the needs of others. Adversity is the proverbial bucket of ice water that needs to get thrown in our face from time to time.

Excess Baggage

There's a scene in Saving Private Ryan (soon after the beach scene) where the Captain (played superbly by Tom Hanks) is press ganging a clerk to help find Private Ryan. It's one of the few humorous scenes in the movie as the clerk awkwardly tries to prepare himself. He picks up a typewriter and the Captain says 'You don't need that'. The Captain presents a pad and a pencil to the clerk who nods knowingly. 'Grab your helmet and rifle, you'll need that!', says the Captain and our hero is off. That's what adversity does. We shed stuff we don't need and pick up the helmet and rifle that we do need.

Adversity Enlarges Our World

I am about to be exposed to a whole new world that I never knew existed. 2009 won't be a banner year for me in terms of employment but it will be a memorable one in terms of personal development. Staying with Tipco would've been easy. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! But what opportunity did I have? None! I for one am looking forward to the challenge that lays ahead. An uncertain one to be sure fraught with some difficulty. I kept reminding myself 'There are no absolutes. Only God is absolute'. This new path represents uncharted territory. It is the road less traveled by which will make all the difference.

A Word to the Wise

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28)

Does God work all things for good? No! The above scripture (as well as the Jeremiah verse) are conditional. God will not help rebels and those mired in unbelief (atheists and agnostics, please take note). The adversity foisted upon those who reject Christ will receive no such divine assistance. In other words, you're on your own! I enjoy my independence and privacy as much as anyone. But I'm not so foolish so as to rebuff all manner of help when I obviously need it. Please don't be stubborn. God wants to help and He will help if you submit to Him. Please make that decision today. Nobody has to suffer alone!

Johnny Cash

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