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We are often told that it isn't the circumstances of life that are important; it's how we react to those circumstances that really matters. This is true. Rather than always trying to change our circumstances, we should think more about changing ourselves.

There are several ways in which people respond to adverse happenings. The first is stoically. This means that they are completely impassive, gritting their teeth, and showing no emotion. Their policy is to "cooperate with the inevitable."

Others respond hysterically. They go to pieces emotionally with loud crying, tears and spectacular physical displays. Some react defeatedly. They give up in abject despondency. In extreme cases, this can end in suicide.

The normal Christian way is to respond submissively. The believer reasons, "This did not happen by accident. God controls everything that comes into my life. He has not made a mistake. He has allowed this in order to bring glory to Himself, blessing to others, and good to me. I can't see the full outworking of His program, but I will trust Him nevertheless. So I bow to His will, and pray that He will glorify Himself and teach me whatever He wants me to learn."

There is another way that some choice saints react, that is, super-triumphantly. I dare not count myself among the number, even though I aspire to their company. These are the ones who use adversity as a stepping stone to victory. They transmute the bitter into the sweet and ashes into beauty. They do not let circumstances rule them, rather they make the circumstances serve them. In this sense, they are "more than conquerors." Let me give a few illustrations.

There was a Christian woman whose life seemed to be filled with disappointment and frustration. Yet her biographer wrote, "She made magnificent bouquets out of the refusals of God."

Believers in an oriental country had been attacked with stones by an angry mob. When these same believers returned, they built a chapel with the stones that had been hurled at them.

After buying a home, a man found a huge boulder in the middle of the garden. He decided to make a rock garden.

E. Stanley Jones said, "Use your denials and turn them into doors." Or, as someone else said, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

I especially like the story of the man who was told by his doctor that he would lose an eye and would have to have a glass eye. His immediate response was, "Be sure to put in one with a twinkle." That's what I call living above the circumstances.


Bible Verses: Philippians 4:11

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