During his teen years, Yu Chen Kun was a member of the infamous Red Guard, a group inspired by the late Mao Zedong to destroy what the Communist government considered corrupting influences in the country, including Christianity. The Red Guards attacked churches, destroying Bibles throughout China. Then, one day, Yu visited a church service and was never the same again. In his words, “The love I met there changed my life.” Had Yu visited your church would he have found this kind of love?
Since the Red Guards destroyed most of the Bibles in China at that time, Yu began copying the Bible from Genesis to Revelation by hand in order to learn more about his newfound faith. Later, he became a pastor, teaching from the book he once hated. While times were turbulent for Yu, it soon became clear that God was doing wonderful things in his life. The same may be true for you.
When facing difficulties, I’m often helped by remembering what has come to be known as John Wesley’s cow sermon. Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, was walking with a friend who felt overwhelmed by his problems. Anxiety over the crisis he was facing had drained away his joy of living. Sensing his friend’s discouragement, Wesley pointed out a cow that was looking over a stone fence.
“Do you know why that cow is looking over the stone fence,” asked Wesley.
“No,” replied his depressed friend, somewhat bewildered by the question.
“Because she can’t see through it,” Wesley said. “And that is what you must do with your wall of trouble—look over and beyond it.”
The Bible agrees, saying tough times are “only for a season” (1 Peter 1:6).
At the age of seventeen, my friend, Ed Powell, was involved in a serious auto accident in which he suffered injuries that required 137 stitches in his head and, in addition to multiple cuts and bruises, he lost four front teeth. But there was another bruise that was more difficult for Ed to endure, a financial one. The car he had been driving wasn’t his own so he found himself facing a mountain of debt to pay for the damages.
In spite of his pain, Ed returned to work within two weeks of the accident. Soon he added a second job and asked for all the overtime work he could get. Through hard work at two jobs and disciplined spending, he paid off the entire debt in less than three years and went on to become a successful building contractor and land developer.
Interestingly, Ed came to view the accident that took place in his youth as one of the key factors in his later success. In His book, Turning Point,” he says, “Looking back, I can see that assuming this responsibility and the demanding extra discipline and effort involved the preparation I needed for the huge responsibilities that would be mine in heading a large construction company later in life.”
We all go through stressful times. Events that disturb us and people who bug us may steal our peace of mind. That’s when we need to remember that God loves us and all trouble is temporary.
Circumstances finally change. Joy ultimately often replaces sorrows.
Today’s sorrows may be designed to prepare you for brighter tomorrows.