With many things in this life, first comes the ugly, the less valuable, and then comes the good stuff. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
Did you ever notice that often things are ugly before they become beautiful? Butterflies don’t start out life withshimmering wings but with a hairy, segmented body. They don’t launch out into life, flitting from flower to tree. Rather, they must crawl before they can fly.
With many things in this life, first comes the ugly, the less valuable, and then comes the good stuff. I was reminded of this recently when I ran into a very unexpected wall of criticism that literally knocked me flat on my back. Cruising along through a pretty good day, I received a phone call from a friend. That call was brimming with well-deserved criti- cism. I took it personal--as all criticism does affect us personally--and, literally, had the “pretty good day” knocked right out of me. From riding emotionally high to sprawled spread eagle, it takes but a moment. Later, when I had time to reflect on the criticism, I was able to pick myself up and, to my amazement, employ the criticism in such a way as to make a negative into a positive. It was until I picked myself up that I realized how important it had been to be knocked down.
Here’s a story. Author Irving Stone has spent a lifetime studying greatness, writing novelized biographies of such men as Michelangelo and Vincent van Gogh. Stone was once asked if he had found a thread that runs through the lives of these exceptional people. He said, “I write about people who sometime in their life. . . have a vision or dream of something that should be accomplished . . . and they go to work. They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.” (Crossroads, Issue No. 7, p. 18.)
We read in 2 Timothy 4:7 that God wants us to: “Fight the good fight” and “finish the race.” Fighting and finishing usually presuppose getting knocked down somewhere along the way. It is very difficult in this life to achieve anything worthwhile unless you experience a time lying flat on your back, knocked down by the fist of a mistake, the boot of a miscalculation or the stinging tongue of a well-placed criticism. Certainly both our professional and personal lives hold these things in store and we must be willing to accept the fact that being successful in life has everything to do with endurance and the ability to be lifted up when we are cast down. If you want to float like a butterfly you must be willing to crawl before you fly. As Christians, life is far more bearable if we accept the knocking down as a necessary step to flying high.
We pray. Heavenly Father, life is often like frosting on a cake; we eat the cake in order to get at the frosting. Sometimes we’re just tempted to skip the cake altogether and eat the frosting. Remind us that all of life is valuable, even those thing less desirable that lead to the things more desirable. When things in life turn bad or ugly, remind us Lord that impossible always is nothing more than a haze that keeps us from seeing what IS possible. When life knocks us to our knees lift up our heads and show us that down is nothing more than the beginning of getting up. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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