Advent (Hope): Difficulties

Difficulties break some people.  They make others.  Is this a truth that you have observed?

My own experience is that difficulties often feel like they are breaking me, but ultimately, if I am honest, they make me.  They make me into a constantly renewing person. They make me see things that I had not been able or willing to see before.  They make me feel things that I did not know existed and would have denied possible if allowed to view objectively beforehand.

I don’t think my experience is special or unusual because I find that most human beings seem to rise to the challenge of difficulties in their own ways. And that makes them special. I do think that these kinds of experiences take on special and unusual circumstances.  Like the life of Zach Sobiech.  Zach was a teenager diagnosed with a rare cancer that attacks children.  Zach was diagnosed with cancer in his pelvis and lungs when he wrote this song. Zach said that he approached each day with joy and hope.  His song, “Clouds,” exemplifies this approach to life with joy and hope as he faced down his own imminent death.  Zach passed away in May of 2013.  His song became an international hit.

Difficulties hit us, always, when we least expect them.  Think about the last time difficulty paid you a visit.  Remember how you felt at the time, and look at what has emerged in your life since then.  Perhaps hope was a significant part of how you responded.  If so, take note. Perhaps hope was not.  If not, take note.  Zach Sobiech died at age 17.  His hope continues to affect the lives of millions.

Difficulties break some . . . but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end. Nelson Mandela

Bob Patrick

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