Turning Pain Into Gain

Wallace Johnson, builder of many Holiday Inn motels and convalescent hospitals, has an interesting story to tell.

"When I was forty years old, I worked in a saw mill," he said. "One morning the boss told me, "You're fired!" Depressed and discouraged, I felt like the world had caved in on me. It was during the Depression, and my wife and I desperately needed the small wages I had been earning.

"When I went home, I told my wife what had happened. She said, "What are you going to do now?"

I replied, "I'm going to mortgage our little home, and go into the building business.

"My first venture was the construction of two small buildings. Within five years, I was a multi-millionaire!

"Today, if I could locate the man who fired me, I would sincerely thank him for what he did. At the time it happened, I didnít understand why I was fired. Later, I saw that it was God's unerring and wondrous plan to get me into the way of his choosing!"

Not all who suffer and overcome adverse circumstances become multi-millionaires. Most of course don't. There are, however, much greater riches in life than money, and all who accept their circumstances, no matter how difficult they are, as allowed by God, and thank him for them, will without question profit greatly from their experiences.

To turn any pain into gain, there are at least five specific stages to work through.

First, acceptance.
I read once about a man, a gifted poet and novelist, who enlisted as a mercenary in a European army. Unfortunately, he was captured and imprisoned. However, instead of fighting against his misfortunes and bemoaning his adverse situation, he accepted his lot and took advantage of it. He saw it as an opportunity to write.

If I could locate the man
who fired me, I would sincerely
thank him for what he did.

After writing a chapter of a story, he read it to his fellow prisoners. They enjoyed it, so he wrote another chapter and read that to them. They enjoyed that too, so he wrote another chapter ... and another ... and another, until the novel Don Quixote was completed. The author's name was Cervantes and he was then in his fifties.

Second, trust.
Perhaps there was no person on earth who suffered more tragically than Job, a man in ancient times who had been a very prosperous landowner and farmer. According to the record, "He was the greatest man among all the people of the East."1

For no apparent reason, repeated tragedies struck him. First he lost all of his eleven thousand head of livestock. Then his many servants were either captured or killed. Next, his seven sons and three daughters were all killed in a severe storm. And as if this were not enough to make any person bitter about life and angry at God, Job then suffered a terrible case of boils, from the souls of his feet to the top of his head.

Job had been a God-fearing person and had lived an honest life. He had no idea why so much had gone wrong. He was so destitute that his wife suggested he curse God and die. But Job's attitude was, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the lord be praised."2 And about God he said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."3

Although Job wasnít aware of it, God was allowing him to be tested to see if he could keep trusting him even in the midst of extremely adverse circumstances. Job passed the test with flying colors. Not only did he continue to trust God after he lost everything, but he also prayed for his close friends, who misjudged and condemned him when he was down.

Continued on Page Two

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