Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

February 12, 2017


Opportunities or problems


       Some years ago I decided to start calling my problems opportunities. That was a course correction that helped me immensely. It became especially helpful while working with my colleagues on a church staff to see every problem as an opportunity.

       When problems arise we are tempted to feel sorry for ourselves. We say, “We had worked so hard and now things are not turning out like we expected.” Self-pity can take over and that makes our problems even worse.

       A better response is to ask, “How can we turn these problems into opportunities to improve what we are doing?” People will help you tackle a tough job. But they are not inclined to share your pity party.  

       Obstacles are in every person’s path. We may stumble over them but if we work patiently and intentionally, we can turn our obstacles into stepping stones.

       We all fail and we succeed only by getting up – again and again. Henry Ford called failure “simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

       As a new pastor I helped an old man remove an old wooden cross from the church lawn. He misled me. He said the old cross was an eyesore. My wise associate told me I had made a mistake, that removing the cross would be unsettling to the people who had put it there. We secured a new wooden cross and planted it where the old one had been. My problem became an opportunity.

       Winston Churchill said “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” He was right. The optimist will look for the opportunity in every problem.

       Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into a prison that was more like a dungeon. Did Paul whine about the problem of his imprisonment? No, he saw it as an opportunity to tell the prison guards about his friend Jesus. The Bible says that at midnight Paul and Silas were singing! Imagine that! Singing instead of whining about their problems!

       Singing helps us see problems as opportunities. One of my favorite songs is “Until Then.” The words and the music were composed by Stuart Hamblen. I love the way he reminds us that heartaches can become stepping stones. Expect a blessing when you read Hamblen’s song:


My heart can sing when I pause to remember

A heartache here is but a stepping stone

Along a trail that’s winding always upward,

This troubled world is not my final home.


The chorus is my philosophy of life. I love it. I will sing it at the drop of a hat. Hamblem captures my heart when he says in the face of problems we should “carry on with joy” and keep on singing until the Lord calls us home.

Be careful when you read the chorus. You may break out singing and find a way to see your problems as opportunities!


But until then, my heart will go on singing,

Until then, with joy I’ll carry on;

Until the day my eyes behold the city,

Until the day God calls me home.


Glory! + + +