No. 186



I'm always grateful when someone thinks enough of me to share information that I can use in one of my columns. As I've said many times, I don't have all the answers and if I can find or be given something that I think will be helpful to you, I'm all ears. When I sit down to write these columns, my primary consideration is you and your needs. While I may miss you in some cases, I am sincerely trying to do the best I can to be a source of hope, encouragement and reliable information. If you are a regular reader you know that I tackle negative topics once in a while but I try to do it in a positive way. My prayer is that reading my column will be one of the high points of your week.

My good friend Roy Chatham put something in my mail box at Church the other day titled, "Never Trouble Trouble" that contained a very profound and thought provoking message. It was written by Richard Hopper, a retired pastor who now lives in Norman, Oklahoma. It begins, "A Seminary professor once said to his students, "Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you." Good advice, for no person in his right mind will deliberately create trouble for himself.

But trouble is inevitable, unavoidable. Sooner or later, everyone experiences an hour of adversity. The question is what to do with it and how to use it. A scientist once observed an ant carrying a small piece of straw. The ant was struggling under the burden, for the straw was much bigger than she was. The ant came to a crack in its path which was too wide for it to cross.

It stood for a time, as though pondering its next move. Then, placing the straw across the crack, it walked across to the other side, picked up the straw again, and went on its way. Using one's burden as a stepping stone is the way of progress. Every moment of difficulty can be a lesson, teaching one to face life with greater courage and hope. Turn your trouble into a stepping stone, a step to a more useful life.

At this point, may I ask you a very personal question? Do you have burdens or things that are troubling you that are weighing you down? It could be finances, marriage problems, addiction to one form of drug or another, a dysfunctional family or disappointments relating to a job or career. If left unresolved, these burdens can become so heavy that it seems like life is no longer worthwhile. It is at this point that many people give up and begin a downward slide that ends up in the hospital or the grave.

From my perspective, here is the good news. There are few things in this life we can't handle if we have the right mental attitude and view our burdens, not as trouble or problems, but opportunities to learn and to grow as a human being. Solving problems is what a successful life is all about. The one exception that comes to mind is a terminal illness or disease. If this is your case, you need to make sure your relationship is right with God. Of course, like most things, this is your own personal decision.

But apart from this, just renew your faith that there is a possible solution to your troubles or burdens. In your mind see that small ant place the straw over the crack and then proceed on her way. In most cases we can do the same thing if we too will just back up and plan our next move. If you can't do it on your own, get some professional help. We all have needs of various kinds and many of our needs are Spiritual. If you have this need, I want to invite you to read I John 1:9 in the Bible. I've been there with my burdens and troubles and it's done wonders for me. Until next time I want to leave you with this quote by Henry Ward Beecher, "Trouble is the tools by which God fashions us for better things." (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 BentleyDrive, Conway, AR 72034.)