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To Whom Much Is Given

Trials and tribulations, challenging times, tough situations, and the ever present “why me”? Such is this journey called life. Though hindsight is 20/20, many times when an opportunity disguised as a problem is in front of us, our forward vision all of the sudden becomes r-e-a-l blurry; and that molehill looks like a big, bad, burly and un-climbable Mount Everest. Though it may just be our perception, for nothing is truly neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so; it often times becomes our reality. When this happens, how often does the little voice in our head cry out, “why me”?

I remember as a young adult asking my mother this question about her life. At the time, she was figuratively in the La Brea tar pits of living. From the outside in, it looked dismal. She was going through both physical and mental challenges that would wipe out most people. Physically, she had high blood pressure, diabetes, was grossly overweight, almost had her foot amputated, and a smoking habit that was wreaking havoc on her health. Mentally, she was dealing with an incredibly stressful job, going through a divorce from my father whom she had previously been married to for almost 30 years and with it the mental anguish and feelings of complete failure. Not a great moment in time by any standard…or was it?

During this period, I was amazed at how strong she seemed in the face of all of her many challenges. It was her way of being for as long as I had known her. Hands down, she was the strongest woman I’ve ever personally known. Though it looked like it was all falling apart, she always kept her head up and just kept on going. While speaking with her on the phone, I remember asking her how she handled it all. I’ll never forget her response.

“Bretty”, she said, “To whom much is given, much is expected. God will never give you more than you can handle. However He is also very careful of whom He gives the greatest challenges.”

Baffled, I asked her what she meant to which she responded, “Some of us are put here on earth to do great things and make a big difference during our lifetime. We are built to withstand the tribulations so we can be an example to others. Though I may not have achieved everything I wanted to in my lifetime, I believe that my greatest achievement will be my children. I bear these burdens so you don’t have to and will learn that greater is He who is within you than he that is in the world. To whom much is given, much is expected”.

That was probably the most important lesson my Mother ever taught me. The irony is that she died unexpectedly a few months after that conversation.

Looking back (with 20/20 vision of course), it was the first time that I began to recognize the value of challenges. Without them, we don’t grow. A diamond is not the most precious stone on earth because it is easily made. Nothing worthwhile ever is. When we understand the benefit that challenges present to us we can then start to look at them through the lenses of a totally different perspective. One that acknowledges the true gift they provide.

If you are experiencing opportunity disguised as challenges in your life, then congratulations! As my Mother shared with me, I’ll pass on to you. God will never give you more than you can handle. And if your challenges seem to be extraordinarily large, then buckle up for the ride of your life. That means you are up to something HUGE!

To whom much is given, much is expected. Thank you for being an example to us all.


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