- We don’t pretend that trials and tribulations don’t exist.
- We don’t treat them stoically (though there are times that just “hanging on” is part of the answer).
- We don’t blame them on others.
- We don’t surrender to self-pity.
- We don’t ask “why me?”
So then, what do we do? The Apostle Paul was the expert in facing the harsh experiences that come in the active life of faith:
As may be seen in 2 Corinthians 11, he was three times beaten with rods; once pelted with stones; three times shipwrecked. He spent a night and a day clinging to the wreckage of a ship in the open sea. He faced danger from rivers; bandits; hostile fellow Jews who considered his “blasphemy” worthy of his death; false believers; and on and on.
It is hard to think of any man who endured so many hardships, and all in a time without modern resources and comforts.
For St. Paul, one of our most important human ancestors in the faith, what was his formula for staying on top?
In his own words, here it is: For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Photo credit: J B (via flickr.com)