Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, told the following story several years ago and I could never forget it. She and Billy were building a new house in the mountains at that time and daily they traveled up the newly paved road with their family to see how the construction was progressing. On the trip one day, they noticed a small bump in the freshly paved road and wondered what had caused it.
As the days passed by the bump continued to grow. The family could not imagine what had the strength or the tenacity to push its way up through 6 inches of hard packed road binding and 4 more inches of hard rolled asphalt. Soon the bump turned into an eruption of asphalt and finally a pile of road binding and dirt slowly was pushed up and out of the hole.
Speculation ran wild as to what was doing all the damage. Some thought it was an animal digging its way out after being trapped beneath the paved road. Others said it was a mighty oak tree that was sprouting or perhaps a sturdy walnut tree. To the amazement of the Graham family, what forced its way up from under 10 inches of hard-packed road surface was a lowly mushroom. Its delicate white cap emerged from the hole one afternoon. It was frail as hand-made lace yet totally unscathed by the process it has just gone through.
Isn’t this a perfect picture of the untapped potential and unyielding strength God placed within each of us? Some have chosen to tap into that boundless reserve and changed while others with lesser problems just caved in and give up on life. As an observer of human nature, I had to know what makes the difference. Why is it that some people can rise up, push through immense difficulties and thrive when they have been “paved over” by life, while others simply embrace their situation and make-due with what life has dished out?
I have watched in amazement as some who were handed impossible life conditions sprang back to become world changers. One young man I saw the other day is a primary example. He was an amazing motivational speaker. He had a room filled with high school students laughing one moment and crying the next. He was filled with hope and looking ahead to an adventure-filled future. He was even challenging them to look ahead and become all they could. Oh..and did I mention that he was born without arms and legs? Stack that up against the worst thing you have ever been through and things come into a very new perspective!
What words of wisdom do I have to offer today? Look around you and begin to be thankful for all that you have. Do you have arms and legs, hands and feet? You are blessed! Is your house warm and your closet full of clothes? You are blessed! Do you have income and food on the table? You are blessed! Are you safe and able to go out into the street without being killed? You are blessed! Do you have clean water and the ability to pray and freely worship without being arrested? You are abundantly blessed! My God stop whining! It’s time to man up and start living!
We are all like that lowly mushroom. Even the frailest of us have a God-given ability to grow. By choosing to grow in your situation rather than wallow in it, you are eventually given the gift of “break-through”. The most difficult things in life must give way to the one who refuses to give up. Begin to look at every place of resistance as the very place you were meant to thrive. If you do, who knows, you might be surprised at just how good your life really is!