“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” – 1 Peter 1:6-7
Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great”, interviewed Admiral Jim Stockdale, the highest-ranking officer in the Hanoi Hilton prisoner of war camp during the height of the Vietnam War. Admiral Stockdale was shot down in September 1965 and endured seven and half years of horrific imprisonment and torture. Regarding the prisoner of war camp, Collins asked Stockdale, “Who didn’t make it out?”
“Oh, that’s easy,” answered Stockdale. “The optimists.”
“The optimists? I don’t understand,” responded Collins.
“The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart. This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end-which you can never afford to lose-with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
During the most difficult of times, optimism will be crushed. But our faith and trust in Christ is one that has overcome all that the world. Today in prayer, thank Jesus that He is the rock for your faith and look to Him for your strength during the most difficult of times.
“We grow and mature spiritually through adversity–not when everything is going smoothly. … [I]n a time of adversity or trouble, the Christian has the opportunity to know God in a special and personal way.” – C. Everett Koop
God’s Word: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2003, Devotional E-Mail DEVOTIONS IN THE BOOKS OF PETER [email protected]