Stepping Stones to Success
"Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples … [and] as he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'"1
Many achievements in life have come from a setback, an accident, or some kind of crisis or even suffering. For instance, the first cars had to be started by cranking the motor by hand. At times the engine would "kick" back the crank handle. This happened to Charles Kettering and it broke his arm.
"There must be a safer way to start cars than this," Kettering reasoned and he went on to invent self-starters for cars.
Jacob Schick was prospecting for gold where the temperature fell to 40 degrees below zero. He had a hard time trying to shave with a blade without sufficient hot water—so he invented the first electric shaver.
Eugene O'Neill had no specific goal or aim in life until he became ill and had to go to hospital. While lying flat on his back he began to write his plays.
A number of years ago I had an accident on a construction site which put me in hospital for a week. For a few years I had been battling a sense of God's call to Christian service but never acted on it until I was flat on my back with time to think. It was there in the hospital that I said, "Okay, God, you win. I know what you want me to do." That was the day I made the decision to go back to college to train for Christian ministry.
So, when things go wrong in your life and you experience a major setback, lose your job, or have an accident, not always, but perhaps God has something for you to learn, or something else he wants you to do. The important thing is to be open to what God is saying.
True, disasters happen because we live in a broken, sinful world. Sometimes, however, a disaster is "God's wake-up call" to teach us an important lesson, to help us grow, or to lead us in a different direction.
Most of us are not going to be struck down like Saul [Paul] was and hear a voice from heaven, and be left blind for three days when God calls. Some of us, though, who are hard-headed have to be "hit over the head" as it were with a "four-by-four" for God to get our attention. But for most of us God leads through his Word, our circumstances, and through a "still small voice" within that gives us a sense of what God wants us to do.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to see/hear/learn what you are saying to me in every adverse circumstance I may experience, as I truly want to be what you want me to be and to do what you want me to do. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Acts 9:1, 3-4 (NIV).