SCRIPTURE: Philippians 1:12-13 (TM)
I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else too, found out that I'm in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they've learned all about him.
It was 1818 in France, and Louis, a boy of 9, was sitting in his father's workshop. The father was a harness-maker and the boy loved to watch his father work the leather. "Someday father," said Louis, "I want to be a harness-maker, just like you."
"Why not start now?" said the father. He took a piece of leather and drew a design on it. "Now, my son," he said, "take the hole- puncher and a hammer and follow this design, but be careful that you don't hit your hand."
Excited, the boy began to work, but when he hit the hole-puncher, it flew out of his hand and pierced his eye! He lost the sight of that eye immediately. Later, sight in the other eye failed. Louis was now totally blind.
A few years later, Louis was sitting in the family garden when a friend handed him a pinecone. As he ran his sensitive fingers over the cone, an idea came to him. He became enthusiastic and began to create an alphabet of raised dots on paper so that the blind could feel and interpret what was written. Thus, Louis Braille opened up a whole new world for the blind--all because of an accident!
That which we would label tragedy could be nothing more than an unrealized opportunity. It all depends on how we view it as well as deal with it. Paul in prison converts all the more. Louis Braille turned his blindness into something that transformed the world for millions of blind people.
Opportunities unrealized abound. They are there in front of us all the time. We can choose to be defeated and sad. We can be weighted down by the sheer weight of the matter. We can only look at the circumstances and fail to see the new horizons. We can fail to investigate a new perspective. We can embrace the tragedy and feel defeated or we can embrace reality and see hope; in every circumstance there lies opportunities; in every dark moment there is a chance to do something that has never been imagined.
Case in point is Thomas Edison. The year was 1914. Mr. Edison was 67 and tragedy struck. On a December evening he stood and watched as everything that he had ever accomplished went up in a raging fire. His son Charles upon finding his father heard him say: “Charles, where's your mother?” Charles didn’t know, but Mr. Edison said, “Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives." The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, "There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew."
We can view our life as a disaster or as an opportunity to start again, to start over, to strike out in a new direction with new energy and a renewed spirit. With every prison-moment there are witness-opportunities. With every blind-moment there are new worlds to explore. With every tragic fire there are unbelievable chances to start anew. Don’t miss them. How we respond just might change the world for someone else.
Please Lord lift our eyesight beyond the reality of our situation so that we can embrace the greatness of your horizons.