The Other Side of Setbacks

 

American swimmer Dara Torres had a remarkable career. She appeared in five different Olympics from 1984 to 2008.

Late in her career, Torres broke the US record for the 50-meter freestyle – 25 years after she herself set that record, but it wasn’t always the medals and records.

She also encountered a lot of obstacles in her athletic career. Failure after another, mistakes after mistakes, injuries, surgery, and being almost twice the age of most other competitors.

She said, “I’ve wanted to win at everything, every day, since I was a kid.., I’m also aware that setbacks have upside; they fuel new dreams.”

“Setbacks have an upside” is a great life lesson. Her struggles motivated her to reach for new heights.

Romans 5:3-5 states that “… we also rejoice in sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us…” The Apostle James also told us “consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work…”

Adopting this perseverance on the difficulties of life is not easy, but worthwhile. Trials provide opportunity to deepen our relationship with God. They also teach lessons that success cannot by developing the kind of patience that waits on God and trust Him for the strength to endure.

I remember an excerpt from one of my prayers when I was in one of the darkest days of my life way back then,

“Lord, I hope my prayers will be answered tomorrow, else I could die, but if it remains a ‘no’ until tomorrow and I am still alive, teach me to be more patient and help me to understand more Your reasons, though the same reasons I may not know until tomorrow or the next month or the next decade. All I know is that what is happening at this very moment is for my own sake and my family’s welfare, so that I can share this experience to anyone in the future, so that Your light will shine to others through me, even at darkness”.

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Did You Know?

 

Did you know that those who appear to be very strong in heart, are real weak and most susceptible?

Did you know that those who spend their time protecting others are the ones that really need someone to protect them?

Did you know that the three most difficult things to say are: I love you, Sorry, and Help me

Did you know that those who dress in red are more confident in themselves?

Did you know that those who dress in yellow are those that enjoy their beauty?

Did you know that those who dress in black, are those who want to be unnoticed and need your help and understanding?

Did you know that when you help someone, the help is returned in two folds?

Did you know that it’s easier to say what you feel in writing than saying it to someone in the face? But did you know that it has more value when you say it to their face?

Did you know that if you ask something in faith, your wishes are granted?

Did you know that you can make your dreams come true, like falling in love, becoming rich, staying healthy, if you ask for it by faith, and if you really knew, you’d be surprised by what you could do.

But don’t believe everything I told you, until you try it yourself. If you know someone that is in need of something that I mentioned, and you know you can help, you’ll see that it will return in two-folds. Go ahead and do that now.

Name

 

Charles Ponzi’s name is and will be forever associated with the financial fraud scheme he did as his way of life. It is widely known as the Ponzi Scheme.

He committed minor financial crimes and a number but momentary times in prison. Back in 1920, he began offering investors a 50% return on their hard-earned money in 45 days and a 100% profit in 90 days.

Though seemed too good to be true, the money poured in. He used money from new investors to pay prior investors and fund his lavish life-style.

By the time his fraud was discovered in August 1920, investors had lost 20 Million dollars and five banks had failed.

He spent 3 years in prison, then deported to Italy, and died without a single cent in 1949 at the age of 66.

The Proverbs Book frequently contrasts the reputation of wise and foolish people: “The name of the righteous is used in blessings, but the name of the wicked will rot… Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes a crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:7,9).

The Wise King ads “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (22:1).

It is not too late, the Apostle Peter knew this. Peter repeatedly denied that he knew Jesus, he went out and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75; John 18).

Ponzi could have changed whatsoever associated in his name, but unfortunately didn’t.

Like Peter, we all fall short, but failure is not fatal. Jesus forgave the repentant Peter for his failure (John 21) and used him to preach and lead many to God.

We seek a good name, not to honor ourselves but to glorify Christ our Lord whose name is above all names. God lovingly restores those who turn back to Him.

THE IRREPLACEABLE GAP (PART 4 OF 4)

Please read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

 

After hearing this, I was lost. Lost at not knowing what to do, what to say….

I told my son, “Son, mommy is in the heavenly kingdom, so in future, if you have anything to tell her, just burn the letter and it will reach mummy.

 My son, on hearing this, was much pacified and calm, and soon after, he was sleeping soundly. On promising that I will burn the letters on his behalf, I brought the letters outside, but couldn’t help opening the letter before they turn to ash.

And one of the letters broke my heart….

 

“Dear Mommy,

I miss you so much! Today, there was a ‘Talent Show’ in school, and the school invited all mothers for the show. But you are not around, so I did not want to participate as well. I did not tell Dad about it as I was afraid that Dad would start to cry and miss you all over again. Dad went around looking for me, but in order to hide my sadness, I sat in front of the computer and started playing games at one of the shops. Dad was furious, and he couldn’t help it but scolded and hit me, but I did not tell him the real reason. Mommy, every day I see Dad missing you and whenever he think of you, he is so sad and often hide and cry in his room. I think we both miss you very very much. Too much for our own good I think. But Mommy, I am starting to forget your face. Can you please appear in my dreams so that I can see your face and remember you? I heard that if you fall asleep with the photograph of the person whom you miss, you will see the person in your dreams. But mommy, why haven’t you appear?”

 

After reading the letter, I can’t stop sobbing. ’cause I can never replace the irreplaceable gap left behind by my wife….

 

— END —

THE IRREPLACEABLE GAP (PART 3 OF 4)

Do not miss the First and Second Part.

 

Few days after the caning, my son came home to tell me, the kindergarten has recently taught him how to read and write. Since then, he has kept to himself and stayed in his room to practice his writing, which I am sure, would make my wife proud, if she was still around. ’cause he makes me proud too!

Time passes by very quickly, and soon another year has passed. Its winter, and its Christmas time. Everywhere the Christmas spirit is in every passer-by…Christmas carols and frantic shoppers….but alas, my son got into another trouble. When I was about to knock off from the day’s work, the post office called.

Due to the peak season, the post master was also on an edgy mood. He called to tell me that my son has attempted to post several letters with no addressee. Although I did make a promise never to hit my son again, I couldn’t help but to hit him as I feel that this child of mine is really beyond control.

Once again, as before, he apologized, ‘ I’m sorry, Dad’ and no additional reason to explain. I pushed him towards a corner, went to the post office to collect the letters with no addressee and came home, and angrily questioned my son on his prank, during this time of the year.

His answer, amidst his sobbing, was: The letters were for Mommy.

My eyes grew teary, but I tried to control my emotions and continued to ask him: “But why did you post so many letters, at one time?” My son’s reply was: “I have been writing to mommy for a long time, but each time I reach out for the post box, it was too high for me, hence I was not able to post the letters. But recently, when I went back to the postbox, I could reach it and I sent it all at once…”

 

Continue reading the last part.