Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the powere to revoke at any moment.” – Marcus Aurelius Antonius

Marcus Aurelius was a second century Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher. Yet his words remain as true today as they were back then.  We each have the ability to decide whether something that happens to us is bad or good.

Let me give you an example. Last summer my dog, who I’d had for 16 years, died.  He was a mutt, but he looked like and had the energy of a black lab.  He was the kindest dog I’ve ever encountered.  I used to refer to him as the Mahatma Gandhi of dogs.  He died from old age when I was away on vacation.  When I got the news, not only was I devastated that he’d died, but I was racked with guilt for not having been with him in his final moments.

My daughter and I had been traveling separately when he died. When we finally reunited, I confessed to her how badly I felt.  She said to me, “Mom, it wouldn’t have been good for you to be with him at the end.  Animals are very sensitive to our emotions.  You would have been so upset, and he would have felt that.  Instead, he died peacefully.  It was really for the best.”  She was right.  What I thought was bad – my not being with him at the end – was really the best thing for him.  I personally would have liked to have been with him, but that would not have been in his best interests.

My talk with my daughter entirely changed my perspective on the situation. I still miss my dog, but he died at home and in a peaceful and quiet way.  What I thought was bad was actually good.

Often what leads us to be distressed is a lack of faith in God’s plan. God knows what is best.  He knew what was best for my dear dog.  The problem is that we think that we know better than God.  So we get upset about all kinds of things, and we forget that God is in control.  We forget that He has a plan for our good.  We forget that He can use any seemingly bad situation for our benefit, if we let Him.

So when we face a stressful situation, we need to (1) stop, (2) take a deep breath, and (3) believe that God can use whatever is happening to ultimately benefit us.   Getting upset isn’t going to help the situation, nor is becoming bitter.  Instead, we need to face hard situations head on, and truly believe that God has a good plan for us.

We also need to remember that not every situation is as it appears at first glance. You may be upset that a relationship didn’t work out, but God has someone better in store for you.  You may not have gotten the job you applied for, but God has a better job waiting for you.  When bad things happen, God will use them for your benefit in creative ways that you couldn’t even imagine.

This week, if you face some bumps in the road, know that God is with you. Know that He has a good plan for your life.  Know that He is going to take any problems that you may have and turn them into blessings.  You simply need to remain open, positive and faithful, and keep doing your best no matter what the circumstances.

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