When Bill Alexander was nine his father grabbed him and his brother, and banged their heads together, exclaiming, “You two are bums and will never amount to anything.” At that moment Bill resolved to prove his father wrong. And did. Brilliantly. His brother slumped his shoulders and gave up on life.
Jose Salvador grew up in the slums of Manila, Philippines. When his fellow students taunted him about his impoverished background, he retorted, “My parents are poor but I am not,” and went on to a successful career in business. Both Bill and Jose credit their “success” in life to Jesus Christ.
God informs us: “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deu. 30:19). The secret to deliverance from a rugged past is to recognize and celebrate God’s sovereignty in choosing your parents, intelligence, temperament, early circumstances in life, et al. – for good or for bad. In a word, drinking the cup God has assigned you. Choosing to make lemonade out of life’s lemons. Stopping the whining and commencing the celebration that life is awaiting you to be lived to the fullest…with the inner resources that only Christ can furnish you. (See Isa. 40:29-31; Rom. 8:34, 38; 2 Cor. 3:5; 12:9,10; Eph. 6:10)
“The great figures in history looked deeply into their cups and drank from then without fear…They knew that the life which was given to them was given to live to its fullness in the presence of God and God’s people, and thus bear much fruit.
“Spiritual greatness has nothing to do with being greater than others. It has everything to do with being as great as each of us can be. True sanctity is precisely drinking our own cup and trusting that by thus fully claiming our own, irreplaceable journey, we can become a source of hope for many.
“How than can we, in the midst of our ordinary lives, drink our cup, the cup of sorrow and the cup of joy? How can we fully appropriate what is given to us? Somehow we know that when we do not drink our cup and thus avoid the sorrow as well as the joy of living, our lives become inauthentic, insincere superficial, and boring. We become puppets moved up and down, left and right by the puppeteers of this world. We become objects, yes victims of other people’s interests and desires. But we don’t have to be victims. We can choose to drink the cup of our life with the deep conviction that by drinking it we will find our true freedom. Thus, we will discover the cup of sorrow and joy we are drinking is the cup of salvation.” 1
“ [Jesus] …Knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done ’…I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Lk. 22:41b, 42; Phil. 4:13).
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
1“ Can You Drink the Cup?”– Henri J. M. Nouwen, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana – pgs. 88-90 –