Most of us have more confidence in other people than we have in ourselves! There was an incident that happened to me when I was in grade school that illustrates this point quite well. There was a pop quiz one day that caught the class completely off guard! I was not very confident in my answers, so I borrowed answers from a neighbor who was sitting beside me. After the quiz was graded, much to my dismay, I failed! But, what bothered me even more than failing was the revelation that had I stuck with my original answers and not discarded them, not only would I have passed the test; I would have made a perfect score! Most people are like that! They have more confidence in the ability of others than they have in their own ability! Most of us maximize the attributes of others, but we minimize our own attributes!
Do you remember what happened in the story of the men who were given talents (money) while their lord went away? One was given five, one given two and one was given one. The story says that the lord gave to each man, according to that man’s ability! That’s a very important principle for us! Whatever you have been given, it’s in direct proportion to your ability to handle it! Notice also, that each man was given something. No one was and no one is, empty-handed! All of us have at least one thing in our hand that, if used properly, could contribute to our success in life! The question is: “Will you use what’s in your hand, or will you bury it in the sand?”
When Moses and the Children of Israel were fleeing from Egypt, they came to a seemingly impassable dead-end! There were mountains on either side of them, the Red Sea (or The Sea of Reeds) lay before them, and Pharaoh’s army was in hot pursuit behind them! Moses cried to God for deliverance. It was at that point that the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying to me? Stretch out your rod and command the people to go forward!” That’s the word in season that I want to share with you today! Many times the answer to your problem is already in your hand!
Stop looking around, and start looking within! Don’t expect someone to lend you a hand if you have not fully utilized your own hand! I used to pray that the Lord would make a way! But, now I am beginning to realize, in most cases, my prayer to the Lord shouldn’t be that He would make a way, but that my eyes might be opened to see the way that He has already made! Many times my friend, the answer is already at your disposal! Many times, the answer is already in your hand! So take the time to take an inventory of your talents, attributes and abilities. Find out what’s in your hand!
I can remember when I was quite young, my family and I would make long trips to see some of our relatives who lived out of town. We would always have a good time when we made it to our destination. But as I recall, the most enjoyable time on those trips was the coming and going! As we would travel down the highway, we would sing and play games and have a good time! Sure, it was a delight to be with our relatives, but the real joy for us was in the journey! Today, many people miss out on so much of the joy in life because they are in too big of a rush to get to their destinations! As a consequence, they miss this most important lesson in life: The joy is in the journey! As you rush through the flower gardens of life on your way to the destination that you have labeled success, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers along the way!
Besides missing out on the joy in the journey, when they arrive at their destination (goal; main objective), they are weak and unprepared! Taking shortcuts may get you to your destination quicker, but too many shortcuts short-circuit the learning process because there are some lessons that can only be learned in time and through struggle! A champion Olympic weightlifter will tell you that you can’t develop muscles without training with weights! You start off light, and then you gradually proceed to heavier weights. There is no way around it: If you want to be a champion you must train and training involves struggle and perseverance!
Consider this story:
One day a small opening appeared on a cocoon, a man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further. So the man decided to help the butterfly, he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We would never fly! Remember, the joy is in the journey and the strength comes from the struggle!