Have you noticed?
Bad things happen to good people.
All the time.
Did you get stuck in traffic this week?
Or have you ever lost your cellphone—with all the phone numbers lost forever?
Or have you ever had the terrible experience of your computer crashing—and all your files vanishing to oblivion for all eternity? (I wonder if there’s a data heaven somewhere in this universe?)
Or have you ever experienced your boss shouting at you for something that wasn’t your fault?
Or have you ever experienced the pain of your boyfriend or girlfriend dumping you for another person?
I repeat. Bad things happen to good people all the time.
I can’t answer why they happen.
But here’s my bigger question: What do you do when bad things happen to you?
Do you sulk?
Do you complain?
Do you just stay put and do nothing?
Or do you have a bias for action?
Here’s my simple yet big message for you today: Winners have a bias for action. That’s why they’re winners.
I want you to watch this crazy short video. It’s less than one minute. It’s really funny.
But its lesson is incredibly profound.
watch video (click ‘back’ to return to my blog)
But you’ll be surprised that a lot of people do the exact same thing when bad things happen to them.
They get stuck.
They just stay there.
They complain to the world.
Friend, has a bad thing happened to you?
Don’t get stuck.
Don’t complain. It’s useless.
Instead of complaining, do something.
If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, limp. If you can’t limp, crawl. Stumble your way to greatness.
Why? Because God never said that no bad thing will ever happen to you. But here’s His big promise: That every time a bad thing will happen to you, good things will come out of it. Every time! Because Romans 8:28 says that all things will work for good to those who love Him.
How Do You Respond To Fire?
One day, a young woman came to her grandfather and cried on his shoulder. She told him of her many problems. She felt so overwhelmed by them. It seemed like everything in her life was going wrong.
After she wept many tears, the old man told her, “Let’s go to the kitchen. I have something to show you.”
In the kitchen, the grandfather prepared three pots of water on the cooking range. On the first pot, he placed carrots. On the second pot, he placed eggs. On the third pot, he placed coffee beans. And he lit the fire beneath each of them.
For twenty minutes, they sat in silence as the fire heated the pots. After twenty minutes, the grandfather said, “If you notice, the fire underneath the pots are the same. Same heat. Same temperature. Yet you’ll notice how different things react to the fire.”
He fished out the carrots and placed it in a bowl. He made his granddaughter touch it.
“It’s soft,” she said.
He got an egg, broke it, and gave it to her.
“Hard boiled,” she said.
Finally, he opened the coffee pot—its fragrance filling the room. He poured a cup for her. She took a sip.
“That’s nice,” she said, “thanks, grandpa. But what does this all mean?”
He said, “Child, you’re going through fire. You’re going through trials. Everybody does. But how are you reacting? Are you like the carrot who thought it was hard and strong, but when the fire came, it became weak and lost all its strength? Or are you like the egg that had a malleable spirit and a tender heart, but when trials came, hardened its heart? Or are you like the coffee bean? The fire released its flavor and aroma. Your trials can release your gifts and dreams. Your trials can set you free. So tell me, are you a carrot, an egg, or coffee beans?”
Your Trials Can Set You Free
Did your boyfriend leave you for another girl? You’re now free to find a better man who’ll be faithful to you.
Were you laid off at work? You’re now free to get a better job at a better company or become an entrepreneur.
Are you sick right now? This is a wake up call. Your body is telling you, “It’s high time to care for me.” You’re now free to become the healthiest person you can become.
Eleven years ago, my friend had cancer of the breast. But that cancer set her free. Because of that cancer, she served God more, she loved her family more, and she took care of her health more. She started eating more fruits and vegetables. Eleven years later, she’s a healthier person, she’s a more loving person, and she’s a more spiritual person. Her cancer set her free.
Did your business fail? You’re now free to start all over again and make it better.
That’s what happened to me.
Three Men Went Through The Fire
In the Bible, we read of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
They went through the fire, too. A literal one.
Because these men didn’t want to bow down before a pagan idol, the king was so angry, he threw them into the furnace—and asked his strongest soldiers to tie them up.
But when they were in the fire, God rescued them. They were protected. Even their clothes weren’t burned. They walked out unharmed.
But here’s the amazing part: Nothing was burned except for the ropes that bound them.
The fire made them free men.
From my experience, when I go through fire, my trials remove my chains. My fears. My limited thinking. My small dreams.
Hey, I still don’t like it.
Fire is fire. It hurts. It burns.
But when I go out of the fire, I’m a better person.
Like coffee beans, my aroma and flavor is released.
I’m free to impact the world even more.
Keep Moving Forward!
Psalm 23:4 says, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…
You don’t stay in the valley.
You don’t sulk in the valley.
You walk through the valley.
You keep moving forward. You put one foot in front of the other until you get out of the valley.
1 Peter 1:13 says, Therefore, prepare your minds for action.
Have a bias for action.
From Executive To Farmer
When I think of action, I think of my friend Rudy Mallari.
In the 90’s, Rudy was on top of the world. My friend was one of the key figures in the exports garments industry. He was running a huge company and was very well paid.
But in a blink of an eye, it was like someone pulled the rug from beneath this entire industry. China took over. And the entire export garments industry died (almost).
And overnight, Rudy lost his job and business.
From being on top of the world, he was now at the bottom.
Did Rudy sulk? Did he simply give up and hang up his gloves? Did he get depressed that the hand that fed him suddenly disappeared?
Far from it.
Because Rudy had another love: Farming.
He kept working, kept acting, kept making mistakes.
From being an executive, he’s now a “farmer”.
He doesn’t actually run a farm. But he works with lots of small independent farmers—and he teaches them organic farming. And then helps them sell their products.
For years, he met with guys in suits, ties, and briefcases. Now, he meets guys in torn shirts, straw hats and muddy boots.
And in dealing with small farmers and other poor people, he grew in his passion of helping the poor. Thus, he joined Alay Buhay (If you want to vote for them for your party list organization, they’re #66!) that helps small entrepreneurs across the country.
His tragedy turned into triumph—not only for him but also for many other people.
A True Story That Will Touch You Deeply
I’m going to tell you a true story of a young woman who went through a most gruesome fire. When you read her story, you’ll realize that your trials are absolutely nothing compared to what this young girl went through.
It was September 25, 2000.
Maricel Apatan was an 11-year old girl in Zamboanga.
On that day, this little girl went with her uncle to draw water.
Along the way, four men met them. They were carrying long knives. They told her uncle to face down on the ground. And they hacked him on the neck and killed him.
Maricel was in total shock. Especially that the men were their neighbors. She tried to escape, but the men ran after her.
She cried, “Kuya, ‘wag po, ‘wag n’yo akong tagain! Maawa po kayo sa akin!” (“Don’t kill me! Have mercy on me!”)
But they weren’t listening. With a long knife, a man slashed her on the neck too.
Maricel fell to the ground and lost consciousness.
When she woke up, she saw a lot of blood.
She also saw the feet of the men around her, but she pretended to be dead.
When they walked away, Maricel ran back home.
Her Hands Were Hacked Too
But along the way, she saw that both her hands were falling off. Because the men hacked them too. She cried but she kept running.
Sometimes, she’d faint and fall to the ground. But she’d regain consciousness and run again.
When she was near her home, Maricel called her mother.
Upon seeing her daughter, her mother screamed in terror. She wrapped her bloodied child in a blanket and carried her to the hospital.
Here was the problem: From her house to the highway, it was a 12-kilometer walk.
It took them 4 hours just to reach the highway.
When they arrived in the hospital, the doctors thought Maricel was going to die.
But for 5 hours, they operated on her. It took 25 stitches to stitch together the long knife wound in her neck and back.
Maricel barely survived.
And she lost both of her hands.
Ironically, the next day was Maricel’s birthday.
She was 12 years old.
But alas, tragedy didn’t end there.
Angels To The Rescue
When they went home, they saw their home was gone. It was ransacked and burned down by the goons.
Being very poor, Maricel’s family also didn’t have P50,000 for their hospital bills.
But God sent many angels along the way to help them.
Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, a distant relative, paid for hospital bills and helped them bring the criminals to court. They were sentenced to prison.
Tahanan Ng Walang Hagdan helped her finish her studies.
Today, she’s staying with the nuns at Regina Rosarii with Sr. Eppie Brasil, O.P.
But this, I believe, is the incredible miracle.
Instead of staying down, Maricel kept running.
Instead of cursing God why she had no hands, she now uses her wrists in incredible ways that will boggle your mind.
Maricel was cited as the most industrious, best in computer, and most courteous in the School for Crippled Children.
In 2008, she graduated from a course in Hotel and Restaurant Management. She even received a Gold medal for Arts and Crafts.
Today, at 21 years old, Maricel is studying to be a Chef.
Yes, a Chef without hands.
Nothing can stop this young lady from reaching her dream.
Real Winners Don’t Give Up!
Oh, it was a real gift.
Because last Sunday, I invited Maricel to the Feast (Note: This is our weekly prayer gathering. If you want to join us, click here for our schedules or call (02) 725-9999 and ask for the details.)
We saw Maricel in front of us.
And her joy, her smile, her radiance was amazing!
In lovely white Chef’s attire, I asked her to stand in front of the crowd. We cheered wildly.
And then I led her to a table with lots of vegetables on it.
I asked her to make a salad for me.
Using only her wrists, she cut the vegetables and prepared a delicious salad.
I couldn’t help but cry.
I looked around me and saw many crying too.
Because we were in front of an incredible winner.
Don’t Lose Hope
Friend, are you a winner?
Stop focusing on your trial.
Stop focusing on your problems.
Right now, you may be undergoing fire.
Perhaps your marriage is being torn apart.
Perhaps you’re buried in a mountain of debt.
Perhaps the doctor said you’re never going to get well.
Perhaps your child is far from God.
Friend, don’t lose hope.
Don’t give up.
You will win the race.
You will win the prize!
In the fire, don’t be a carrot or an egg. Don’t weaken or harden. Rather, be a coffee bean and let the fire set you free for action!
This fire will make you better.
This fire will make you grow.
This fire will make you succeed even more!
So focus on the finish line.
Focus on your dream.
Focus on the prize before you.
Stand up and keep running!
May your dreams come true,
PS. Grow closer to God. Receive Bible Reflections emailed directly to your inbox everyday plus a huge treasure trove of material for your spiritual growth. Log on at www.KerygmaFamily.com now!
PS2. Need a Soul Lift? Get special words I call GodWhispers twice a week. It’ll change your day! Sign up at www.GodWhispersClub.com now!
PS3. Join Me For A Fun Run!
Join our 2010 Kerygma Fun Raiser. It will be on May 29, 5:30am, at the SMX grounds (Mall of Asia). There’ll be a 1K, 3K, and 5K run, plus loads of fun stuff: Early Morning Worship, Entertainment, etc. Join us! The Run is for the benefit of our various ministries for the poor. For more details, log on at www.lightfam.com/kfork or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tel. (02) 7259999.
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