I know a friend who recently visited Sitges, a coastal town in Spain’s Catalonia region, southwest of Barcelona. As he walked through Sitges’s Mediterranean beach and beautiful seafront promenade lined with grand mansion, he thought of Paul’s glowing hope within him to visit Spain although he never walked the then dusty roads of Spain, nor look upon its “curvaceous slopes, nor watch its busy coastal life.” Paul was put to death, as a martyr for Christ in Rome. But this great Apostle, never lost his hope and joy. Martin Luther King explained three wrong ways people respond to disappointment or shattered dream. Number one is to distill frustrations into a core of bitterness and resentment. Others withdraw completely into themselves and become absolute introverts and lastly is to adopt a fatalistic philosophy stipulating that whatever happens must happen and that all events are determined by necessity. Instead of responding in one or all of these three ways, we can however, encourage ourselves in the Lord. We can stand firm with courageous determination, move forward amid obstacles and set backs, and cling to the God of hope who specializes in giving beauty for ashes. It was written of George Frederick Handel: ‘His health and his fortunes had reached the lowest ebb. His right side had become paralyzed and his money was all gone. His creditors seized him and threatened him with imprisonment. For a brief time, he was tempted to give up the fight – but then he rebounded again to compose the greatest of his inspirations, the epic Messiah.” Like Handel, we must rebound from setbacks and never let anything separate us from the hope and joy we have in Christ.
“All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” ~ Scripture