Diagnosing Difficulty as Blessing
You never know what’s just over the horizon or around the corner. I was on a tear yesterday to visit three hospitals in three different cities, so I started early. When I arrived at hospital #2, I discovered that someone had been discharged, but I had another visit to make. When I arrived, however, things were more complicated than I had expected. It was one of those times when you just need to kill some time, which is exactly what I did. I found one of my favorite “work nooks” at this hospital, made phone calls, started work on a project, and then returned for a visit. I was so glad I did.
When I emerged from the hospital, my “early start” had become a “delayed schedule.” 30 minutes there had become 90, but I was still on schedule. 4 blocks into my departure, the phone rang, and I learned that another person had been admitted to the hospital that I had just left. Literally, I told the caller, “Hold on,” so I could U-turn and get to the E.R. as quickly as possible. I made another visit, then drove across the Metroplex to my final hospital of the day and finished up my busy morning.
As I was driving back to the office, I started reflecting on my day. Every surprise that morning had actually turned out to be a blessing. I was surprised to discover that people had been discharged, but I had made the early trip. That early trip put me at my next destination early. If I hadn’t been early, I wouldn’t have had the flexibility to wait for an important visit. If that visit hadn’t been delayed, I would have been across the Metroplex before I knew that a friend was in physical trouble. And if I hadn’t been delayed in getting to my final destination, I would have missed a key contact there, as well.
Every “difficulty” turned out to be a “blessing.” I simply couldn’t see it at the time, but as I drove back home, those blessings were vividly clear.
Is it a lack of patience, a lack of vision, or just an attitude that prevents me from seeing more of those “in the moment” of the difficulty? What if I just assumed that God was able to take whatever was happening and charge it with His purposes and power? My prayer on the way back to the office was different. “Lord, give me vision to see the blessings in the difficulties, and if I cannot see them, help me to trust you enough that I honor you even when I’m flying blind.”
Maybe that was what Paul was talking about when he wrote about embracing his persecutions, sufferings, and other problems. Maybe he DID see what others missed because they weren’t looking!