Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans12:2
Our attitudes are the things that we most certainly have control over. We may not have much control over events that happen, but we do have control over how we interpret the events, and how we respond to the events.
Viktor Frankl was a Jewish doctor imprisoned in a concentration camp in World War II. He observed that those prisoners who “gave up” or behaved like victims were the ones who tended to die much more quickly. The ones who found meaning in their life, in spite of circumstances, were the ones who survived. It was all about their attitude toward what was happening around them- not bemoaning their unjust fate, (and it was unjust!). Finding meaning in suffering sustained them. He suggested that there are higher meanings in life which no one can take from us. We carry those values and beliefs within us, and we are ultimately responsible for how we get along in this world.
Victims are people who identify themselves by their handicap or situation. A person can be a victim of their suffering or abuse, or a person can be an overcomer. Having suffered from hardship does not mean that a person needs to be identified as a victim. That person can recognize that their suffering can be used for a better purpose.
People going through a shared experience of suffering, as we are currently enduring, can make the painful experience one of real significance, by actively trying to help others who share the suffering. We see this happening so often during this crisis, and it encourages all who see it.
The root of the word “encourage” is from the Latin word for “heart”- cor. We literally “give heart” to people when we encourage them. So, dear readers, take heart, and give that away to others!
Prayer: Lord, help us to redeem our current suffering into encouragement for others, to your glory, Amen.