When Life Knocks You Down...Get Up!
Life begins with a struggle for some creatures.
Be glad you're not a baby giraffe!
"Do you ever get discouraged with the trials of life? Do you ever feel sometimes that just when you get up from one trial, along comes another to kick you down again? Well be glad you were not born a baby giraffe. The amazing story of the birth of a giraffe brought some lessons home to me.
Did you know a baby giraffe falls 6 feet from its mother's womb and usually lands on its back? Ouch! Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from its eyes and ears. Then, as if it is not enough to fall 10 feet when born, the mother giraffe rudely introduces her offspring to the reality of life.
In his book, A View From the Zoo, Gary Richmond describes how a newborn giraffe learns its first lesson. The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels.
When it doesn't get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is monumental. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs.
Then the mother giraffe does a remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas and leopards all enjoy eating young giraffes, and they'd get to, if the mother didn't teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it.
So how well do we get back up when life knocks us down, as it does from time to time? We can feel like the baby giraffe, when the trials of life send us for a loop. I think of the many times that I have been knocked down and believed with my whole heart that I could never get up again. "Life is too hard," "I'm tired," I would think, and revert to self-pity, asking, "Why me, God?"
Struggles are good for us
Often what pulls me back up is reading the accounts of great men that God used. Such men as Joseph did not start out as great men. Indeed Joseph was knocked down time and time again by the trials of life.
Remember what Joseph went through? He was almost murdered by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongly accused and then thrown into prison. But Joseph used his circumstances in prison to be a great example and was able to find favor in the sight of the jail keeper and those around him. He gained respect even in prison! Joseph could have become sour, bitter and filled with anger over the injustices done to him, but instead he turned them around to serve others. Like the baby giraffe, Joseph got back up. And more remarkably, he turned his terrible circumstances around to do good for others.
Joseph grew from the trials, to become a great leader and save a nation from famine. His words to his brothers, after he had become second in command in Egypt, were not words of bitterness, revenge and hate. Instead they were words of appreciation for the trials that he had gone through because he knew that God had used them for his good and for the good of a nation. "But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here," Joseph told his brothers, "for God sent me before you to preserve life" (Genesis:45:6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.).
Joseph's attitude had completely changed from when he was a young lad. He grew from bragging to his brothers that they would bow down to him, to the point where, years later, he had to leave the room while he wept for his brothers.
Joseph was human, though, just like you and me. In his darkest hours he must have asked God why many times. While in prison Joseph must have wondered what happened to his boyhood dreams. I am sure Joseph must have asked God why He was not helping him and saving him from his terrible trials. As he sat within the dark walls of prison, Joseph must have felt that God was punishing him or that He had abandoned him.
Can you relate to any of these thoughts? Many times we do not feel that the struggles of this life are for our good--especially while going through the trial.
But the fact was God was with Joseph all the time and never left his side. God was the one that showed him favor with the jailer and the men around him! God was the one that gave him wisdom to interpret dreams that led him first to his freedom, then to be a ruler and save a nation.
God in His great wisdom knows that trials will bring forth gold in us. He knows when to act and what to do for our growth.
God wants us to be able to fly
God also knows when not to act. Sometimes He does not respond immediately or help us in the way we'd like because He knows our struggle is necessary for our strength and growth.
Perhaps you've heard the story of a man who found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared; he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no farther.
The man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that at any moment the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly...
Nor could we understand and be able to reach out and help others in their afflictions as Joseph did. The apostle Peter described the value of trials: "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter:1:6-7Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:).
So keep getting up when you are knocked down! Keep struggling through the tight, difficult spots! Remember the baby giraffe and butterfly. Their difficulties make them beautiful and strong. Remember the example of Joseph who did not give up and was used mightily by God. Trust God that He is allowing your trials and struggles for your good and for the good of others."
Never Give Up!
"During a time of unemployment and depression, a little puppy brought a sparkle of life back into my heart. Until she disappeared…
Have you ever felt so sad or depressed that you could not envision an end to your suffering? It is not very easy to have a positive attitude, especially if you don’t have someone right near you to give you encouragement and hope.
Even Jesus Christ, at His lowest point, cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew:27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?). This, of course, was right before He died on the cross. So He understands.
When you are really feeling down and you just don’t feel like you can pull yourself up, you can look to Jesus Christ and the Father for assistance.
I learned a lot about never giving up hope from my sister—and from my dog…
A sparkle of life
In the spring of 1996 I became the proud owner of a small puppy. I was experiencing some difficult times in my life at that time: depression, unemployment, etc. This puppy brought a sparkle of life back into my heart.
Fast forward to the spring of 1997.
I had applied to the Peace Corps and was awaiting my invitation letter. I was visiting my sister in Vermont. My little puppy was now a very large one-year-old German shepherd/black lab. My dog was my life.
Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, she was taken away from me. My worst fear happened. She was hit by a car. Fortunately, she was not instantly killed. She darted off into the woods, to die, I guess. She disappeared into a dense forest extending into a vast mountain range.
I was devastated. We searched the rest of the day and night for her, but she never appeared. I searched for at least half of the next day and finally gave up. I hopped in my car, and headed for my parents’ house in New Hampshire. All I wanted was to be alone.
Upon arriving at my parents’ house, I snatched the keys to the motorboat and headed out to the water. I drove around the bay a few times and returned. As I walked in the door, the phone rang. It was my sister Karen. She was very sorry for what had happened, but very disappointed that I had given up the search for my dog. Would I have done the same if it had been my child?
“Don’t you dare give up!”
After the conversation with Karen, something inside me said, “Don’t you dare give up! Go back to Vermont!” I took a couple of photos of my dog with me and photocopied them in color at a copy shop along the way. I attached a note about her disappearance. Upon arriving in my sister’s neighborhood, I distributed about 100 of these “lost dog” posters.
Three days after her disappearance, a neighbor (who lived about 500 yards behind my sister, on the other side of the forest) called. She was sure she had seen a dog race across her lawn on the day and time of her disappearance. I decided to venture into the forest behind her house.
About an hour after I had entered her side of the forest, I was losing hope once again. I had reached another road on the other side of that stretch of forest.
I turned around, and there, in the distance, was Onyx (my dog) lying on the forest floor, licking her leg. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I stumbled a few times trying to get to her. I think I startled her quite a bit. She even growled at me as I approached her. I understood why in the very next moment. Her right leg was torn open from her knee joint all the way down to her foot, right down to the bone. Somehow, even though she had such a devastating injury, she was able to run at least 1,000 yards to where she was. It must have been the shock of getting hit.
The end of the story
The end of the story is all good. I was able to carry all 80 pounds of her out of the forest and hitch a ride to the veterinarian. She was operated on and, to this day, is a miracle dog for that veterinarian. None of this would have happened if my sister Karen hadn’t talked to me, and if I had completely given up hope of finding my dog in that spring of 1997.
This puppy brought a sparkle of life back into my heart.
As I was sitting here tonight writing this article, it dawned on me that since that incident with my dog I have not given up hope once, no matter what the situation. I have multiple examples of this that would probably fill pages upon pages.
Have you had an experience that changed your outlook on life for the better? Maybe that experience is happening right now. You may not even know it. I only see it now, 10 years later. God works in mysterious ways. I believe He was with me the day that I made the decision not to give up on my dog.
The next time some kind of trial hits you dead in the face, don’t give up. Look to God for guidance. Listen to the advice of those who love you. Think positively. Finally, think of Jesus as He was dying on the cross. He could have given in to temptation and not died for all of our sins. He could have given up. But He didn’t."
"Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials.
As a visual artist, Louie has created some of the most iconic and memorable film moments of our time. He is an innovator in the world of time-lapse, nature, aerial and "slice-of-life" photography - the only cinematographer in the world who has literally been shooting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week continuously for more than 30 years."
Someone put this on FaceBook, and I thought it was great and wanted to share.
Today's Sermon on TV:
"On the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, the apostle John received an astonishing revelation from Jesus Christ. In John's account, he records a prophecy in which Jesus Christ would reign on this earth for a thousand years. During this time all peoples will finally know true peace and harmony.
Is this prophecy just an old man's meaningless dream that can never come true? Or is it the sure Word of God? The one hope in today's world for a time when swords will be beaten into plowshares and wild animals will dwell safely with children?
Was John's vision of a coming time of world peace true? You can know--and the answer will give you hope.
On today's program we will reveal the truth of "The Millennium: Christ's Rule on Earth.""
"We live in a deeply troubled age. Yet a magnificent 1,000 year period of peace and prosperity is coming.
Watch this program, read the transcript and request the free Bible Study aid booklet, The Gospel of the Kingdom, at http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-program/doctrinal-beliefs/millennium-christs-..."
Yosemite National Park established
"On 1st. Oct. 1890, an act of Congress creates Yosemite National Park, home of such natural wonders as Half Dome and the giant sequoia trees. Environmental trailblazer John Muir (1838-1914) and his colleagues campaigned for the congressional action, which was signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison and paved the way for generations of hikers, campers and nature lovers, along with countless "Don't Feed the Bears" signs."
Jay took my little kitchen TV and hooked it up to the coax that goes to the guest house, and it brought in all the channels. So we still don't know why Ray can't get them all on his HDTV.
Ray had assured me that he didn't have to have a converter box for an HDTV, but then I called the cable company and found out that they do have to have a special one for HDTVs. All these days of mucking about with it for nothing! I'll pick up the right box next time I'm in town.
Another day when the windows and doors could be open and no AC running. Fall might be around the corner.
The lady didn't need to meet Pebbles, as it was not a suitable home, so it wasn't that imperative that I took the foster cats to Conroe for Adoption Day. Then I would have to hang around in town for five hours, or make the 20+ mile trip twice. We don't take all our adoptable pets in each time, as there would be too many. Most of the time our pets are adopted through their websites on Petfinder, then we just take the ones that someone has shown an interest.
After having had to get up earlier than usual, I just wasn't up to loading and unloading three carriers of cats twice.
Hopefully, I could get rested up, as I am grooming Mikey today.