Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions
I guess you’ve had a situation where everything goes wrong. In my work as a chaplain, I met people who were very distressed. They were running late to catch a plane—only to miss it.
They got caught up in traffic. It’s an awful situation. I remember trying to help a young lady whose plane was running late. She had a connecting flight to Hobart where her father was dying. Fortunately the airline was understanding and got her on the next flight. Maybe you’ve been caught up in a bad situation. What do you do?
Have you been at your wits’ end? When I was a young boy I remember my father listening to the music of Fritz Kreisler, one of the greatest violinists of all time. He died in 1962.
Wonderful things can happen
Did you know he earned lots of money with his concerts and compositions, but he generously gave most of it away. So when he discovered a beautiful violin on one of his trips, he was not able to buy it.
Sometime later he raised enough money to meet the asking price, and he returned to the seller, hoping to buy this exquisite instrument. But to his great dismay he found it had been sold to a collector. Fritz Kreisler made his way to the new owner’s house and offered to buy the violin. No, the collector said it had become his most prized possession. He would not sell it. Keenly disappointed, Kreisler was about to leave, but he had an idea.
Could I play the instrument once more before it is consigned to silence? Permission was granted, and the great virtuoso filled the room with such heart-moving music that the collector’s emotions were deeply stirred. Then the new owner said:
I have no right to keep that to myself. It’s yours, Mr Kreisler. Take it into the world and let people hear your music.
Sometimes in life wonderful things like that happen to give us hope.
Making the most of a bad situation
The popular movie March of the Penguins tells the remarkable story of the emperor penguins in Antarctica. It has beautiful scenes but the amazing thing is the sheer power of determination that these remarkable birds have to maintain life in the most difficult circumstances you can imagine.
The average daily temperature in Antarctica is 58 degrees below zero. The winters are vicious. And as the movie documents their lives, it is an incredible story of how a species gathers food, gives birth to new life, and maintains itself in a situation that we can hardly imagine. That is truly making the best of a bad situation.
In the Bible we come across the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. His city Jerusalem had been invaded. He had warned them it was coming, but he was rubbished and ignored. In 597 BC Jerusalem was invaded. Many of Jerusalem’s most gifted people were deported to Babylon. They were in captivity, and in a bad way. But Jeremiah urged them to have faith in God, be model citizens and good neighbours. They were in a terrible situation, but Jeremiah urged them to make the most of their situation.
What do you do? How do you make the most of a bad situation?
Begin by listening to those who care about you, even if they are telling you what you do not want to hear. The Israelites refused to listen to Jeremiah, and it cost them dearly, both before and after Jerusalem fell. If they had it to do over again, I believe they would heed his sound advice.
Whose prophetic voice and wise counsel are you ignoring? Why do you think they are talking to you? Is it time to listen?
(To be continued in Making the Best of a Bad Situation – Part 2)