Sunday, July 19, 2015

What Life Asks of Us

And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? - Micah 6:8 

"Where Do We Come From?  What Are We?  Where Are We Going?"
Paul Gauguin, 1897, Museum of Fine Arts Boston
In his best selling book, Man's Search for Meaning, Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Dr. Viktor E. Frankl argues that finding the meaning of life is not about what YOU ask of life, but about what LIFE asks of you. In other words the meaning of life can be found in every moment of living: in joy, in happiness, in success, in failure, in suffering, and in death.

During a mass starvation inflicted by the Nazis on the prisoners in Auschwitz, Dr. Frankl encouraged his fellow prisoners by telling them that for everyone in a dire condition there is someone looking down from above: a friend, a family member, or even God who would not want to be disappointed.  He told them that even as suffering prisoners they all had the freedom to choose their response to life and they could choose to have hope.

During the American Civil War, an unknown Confederate Soldier wrote this poem:

I asked God for strength that I might achieve. 
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. 
I asked for health that I might do greater things. 
I was given infirmity that I might do better things. 
I asked for riches that I might be happy. 
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.  

It really does matter how you choose to live your life; and most especially, how you choose to respond to life's adversities.  In God's eyes, success in life is not measured by whether or not you got what you wanted in life, but rather by how you responded to what life gave you.

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