In The Horse and His Boy, one of the seven novels in C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series, a boy named Shasta dreams of traveling to the unknown north, which turns out to include the magical land of Narnia. One night Shasta overhears the fisherman he has been led to believe is his father sell him to a noble from a neighboring kingdom. (We find out much later that Shasta had been shipwrecked as a baby and was found by the fisherman.) As Shasta awaits his new master in the stable, he is surprised to find out that the noble’s stallion, Bree, is a talking horse from Narnia. Bree explains that he was kidnapped as a foal and sold as a warhorse, and suggests that they escape together. Their journey north is long and perilous, and they have several encounters with lions along the way.
Question: If God loves me, why does He let bad things happen to me?
Answer: One advantage of passing through trying times is that we are drawn closer to God by being drawn closer to Jesus, our Savior and Friend. We seek safety and security in His arms, and we find that and more. He loves us with a love that is everlasting and never changes. He has so much to give us, and He desires to help us in so many ways. He wants to spend time with us, and He longs to have us close to Him, always by His side, to teach us, and to make us more like Himself.
A prayer by Maria Fontaine
Thank You, dear Jesus, that You’re the greatest problem solver. You came to solve mankind’s biggest problem—our need for salvation, to be freed from having to pay the price for our sins. But You didn’t stop there. During Your earthly life You solved so many other problems. When there was no wine at the wedding, You created more wine.1 When people came to You with their health problems, even ones they’d had for many years, You healed them.2 When there was no food for the multitudes You were teaching and everyone was hungry, You multiplied the loaves and fishes.3 When the adulterous woman was about to be stoned, You had a big problem on Your hands, but with great wisdom, humility, and love You put the hypocrites in their place and not only saved but changed the woman’s life.4
There will always be those who will tell you it can’t be done, but throughout history, progress has always come from those who said it could be done.
—Mottos for Success (MFS)
Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
The good things of prosperity are to be wished; but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired.
—Seneca (4 bc–65 ad)
Don’t be afraid of sorrows; they will pass.
Psalm 30:11: You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.
Psalm 126:5: Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.
Matthew 5:4: Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
We know that both heredity and environment help make us who we are. We hear from infancy that we have our mother’s eyes or our father’s chin—visible evidence of the role of heredity. It’s also obvious that children who are stimulated intellectually are more likely to excel academically, and that athletes who have the best coaches and training programs are more likely to reach their full potential—proof of the role of environmental influences.
“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39 NIV). That is one of the most outstanding proclamations of faith ever made, and it was made by a man who endured years of troubles and tribulations that most of us, thank God, will never have to go through, the apostle Paul.
“I just cannot overcome my bad thoughts,” a woman wrote me, asking for advice. “As you may remember, I wrote you before about someone near to me who is very spiteful and says such unkind things, and I told you that I had overcome my urge to say anything back. I have been able to control my tongue, but I haven’t changed my thinking any. I may have self-control outwardly, but I’m seething on the inside.”
We can find inspiration from the life of John Stephen Akhwari, as told in Bud Greenspan’s book 100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History.
When the winner crossed the finish line in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic marathon, officials thought the race was over. Then, an hour later, John Stephen Akhwari, a runner from Tanzania, entered the stadium. Bloodied and bandaged from a fall, he limped painfully with every step.