The Same Sun that Melts Wax, Hardens Clay
The small plane shook violently as its landing gear clipped the top of a tree. Another violent shimmer resonated through the plane as it ripped off the tops of several other trees. Screams, mingled with the loud sound of crushing metal, pierced the air. Then, there was silence. Blood, glass, and snow decorated what used to be the cockpit of the small private plane.
As Mike and Ed pulled themselves from the wreckage, they discovered that two of their friends didn’t survive the crash. Though they considered themselves lucky to have survived, they soon realized surviving the crash was insignificant compared to what lay ahead of them.
The crash occurred in the middle of winter (Dec. 1981) and they were stranded somewhere on Mount McKinley in Alaska. Even if they were experienced mountain climbers with adequate gear, their chances of survival would be minimal. Although they were fortunate enough to have been reported missing, a rescue was still far from certain. Short days (4 hours of daylight) and blizzard conditions hampered several rescue attempts. After five days, however, a rescue party made it to the crash site. Mike lost all of his toes and 5 fingers and Ed lost both of his feet.
Seventeen years later (Nov. 15, 1998), Dateline ran a story on these two men. It was amazing how differently these two men responded to this accident. They both were exposed to the same tragedy, yet their responses were completely opposite. Mike appeared to be very bitter and angry. He even sued the very people (National Guard) who tried to rescue him. Ed, on the other hand, seemed to be happy and has gotten on with his life. He seems to have accepted the losses that life dealt him and has moved on. In fact, with artificial legs, he even tried to climb the very mountain that almost took his life.
Someone once said, "The same sun that melts wax, hardens clay." The attitude with which we approach a problem will determine the effect it will have on us. Similar experiences can impact people differently. Problems will either soften you and help conform you to God’s will or they will harden you with bitterness and anger. A difficult experience will either make you more appreciative of God or more hostile to Him. We all know of people who are bitter and angry with God because of something that has happened in their life. Yet, there are other people who have gone through similar experiences and are very happy and appreciative of God.
The basic difference is the person’s attitude. They can either blame God (which will result in bitterness) or they can keep their eyes focused on Jesus. Focusing on Jesus does not make your troubles go away nor does it help you "make sense" of the confusion. It does, however, help you maintain a proper perspective of eternity and keep you heading in the right direction.
The next time you are faced with a difficulty, remember that you have a choice on how it will affect you. You can allow this problem to soften your heart toward God or you can allow it to harden your heart with bitterness. If you become hardened and bitter, you have only yourself to blame.
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