“Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.”–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
I took a few minutes to read up on Spurgeon’s life and found that he really did have his share of difficulties in life. He went through all kinds of things, ranging from poor health, to his wife’s poor health, persecution for his preaching, and he even went through a time where he was depressed for a long time! All of my heroes, from Mother Theresa to Amy Carmichael, to King David, to Dad and more, all went through their ‘tremendous difficulties’. No one who amounted to anything did so just by breezing through their life.
We all have our ‘school of Laban’ that we go through in order to grow us up. I was thinking over a few of these Bible heroes lately, thinking of how they had to really hoof it for quite some time, in order to learn patience and really mature. Joseph had his time in prison, learning to be faithful in the little things before he was made ruler. Moses did 40 years of tending sheep before he was trusted with 5 million people. David spent his years fleeing from Saul before he was made king. Even Jesus spent the first 30 years of His life in relative oblivion.
I realize it’s nothing new, but something that’s become very real for me these last few weeks and months. I use the adage, ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’, but now it’s true for me too. I wasn’t sure if the time could come when I would look forward to challenges, wanting to succeed in one so that I can move on to the next mountain to climb, but that’s how I feel now. It all has a purpose, every test, every trial, every bit of waiting on the Lord. Sometimes I get impatient because things don’t work out right away, but all the ‘greats’ waited for years to see the fruit of their patience and perseverance. My prayer is that I can continue to grow, learn, and make the most of the times when I have to ‘wait on the Lord’.
I read this interesting article today which went together well with these thoughts I’ve been thinking. I edited it to keep it to the point of the matter.
Depression ‘makes sufferers stronger’ (edited)
By Nic Fleming, Medical Correspondent, Electronic Telegraph
Depression can leave sufferers stronger and better able to cope with life’s challenges, according to a leading psychiatrist.
Dr Paul Keedwell, of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, claims that although the condition causes a great deal of misery, it can also help people become more resilient and lead to great achievements.
Dr Keedwell said: “Essentially, depression can give us new and quite radical insights. It can give us a way of responding effectively to challenges we have in life.
“In its severe form it is terrible and life-threatening, but it can help people to find a new way of coping with events or your situation, and give you a new perspective, as well as making you more realistic about your aims.”
Dr Keedwell, who suffered a spell of depression in his thirties, said that some long-term research, particularly a recently published Dutch study, suggests that, following their depression, many patients are better able to cope with life’s challenges.
“For most, their vitality, their social interaction and their general health actually improved on recovery, and so did their work performance.
“I know from patients that it can also make you more realistic in your outlook. You develop more empathy to those around you.”
Speaking of his own experience, he added: “It went on for months, but I did come out of it, and I think I was a better doctor as a result.”