May 30, 2021


Problems Are Opportunities


            Problems can defeat us, right? Well, not necessarily. Not if we look at our problems as opportunities. Choose to do that and you have made a major course correction in your life.

            Obstacles are like dandelions; they pop up in every person’s path. But we can choose how we respond. Someone said, “When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes.” That is the attitude we need when facing our obstacles. We can stumble over our obstacles or turn them into stepping stones.

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

            Winston Churchill said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” My experience confirms that it is always wise to look for the opportunity in every problem.

            It comes down really to a choice between whining and whistling. Look at biblical heroes Paul and Silas. Arrested and beaten, they were thrown into a prison that looked and smelled more like a dungeon. Did Paul and Silas whine? No, they saw their imprisonment as an opportunity to tell the prison guards about their friend Jesus. At midnight Paul and Silas were not actually whistling but singing. Imagine that! Singing instead of whining about their problems!

            Singing helps me see problems as opportunities. Of course, there are songs, and there are songs. It’s important to choose the right songs to sing. When grief comes knocking on the door of my heart, I don’t break singing about “99 bottles of beer on the wall,” or “Glory, Glory to old Auburn,” or “I’ve had one to many, come take me home.”

            I choose a song that helps me express my faith, a song that Old Man Grief will not like. One of my favorites is “Until Then” by Stuart Hamblen. I love his idea that heartaches can become stepping stones “along a trail that’s winding always upward.” My sorrow melts when I start singing these words:

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.

            Hamblen’s chorus is a wonderful mantra or a great philosophy of life. I love it. His basic idea is that when trials overwhelm us, we can choose to “carry on with joy” and keep on singing until the Lord calls us home. When tribulation tempts me to whine, I choke back the tears and start singing:

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.

            Be careful as you read this chorus. You may break out singing because you see your problems as opportunities! Glory! + + +