What Did Thomas Edison, Victor Hugo, Helen Keller and George Handel Have in Common?”
You don’t have to go far in considering lessons from iconic figures of human history to know that many of them have one thing in common, they all faced significant adversity.
For example, in his One Minute Uplift newsletter, Rick Ezell writes, ”The pages of history are lined with individuals encountering negative setbacks only to make something positive out of them. They are better for it. In many cases, so are we.
Thomas Edison, as a boy, received a blow on his ear which impaired his hearing. What a tragedy! Later he felt his deafness was a blessing, because it was a tool by which he was saved from distractions. “This allowed him to concentrate on his work, and out of that concentration emerged some of the greatest inventions of all times.
Victor Hugo, a literary genius of France, was exiled from his country by Napoleon. What a tragedy! Out of that period of exile arose some of his most creative works. When he later returned home in triumph, he asked, “Why was I not exiled earlier?”
“Helen Keller, born blind and deaf, faced obstacle after obstacle in her life. However, on more than one occasion she confided, “I thank God for my obstacles, for through them I have found myself, my work and my God.”
“George Frederick Handel was at a low point in his life. His money was gone, and his creditors hounded him, threatening him with imprisonment. His right side became paralyzed, and his health deteriorated. For a brief time, he was tempted to give up. In the midst of the darkness, he picked himself up and began to do the only thing he knew to do—write music. Out of that despair he wrote the oratorio known as The Messiah, which many consider the greatest piece of church music in history.
“The fiber tying Edison, Hugo, Keller and Handel together is that these people refused to be defeated by their problems. They saw their misfortunes and bad luck not as dilemmas to destroy them, but as opportunities to grow and develop in ways that otherwise would have been impossible.”
For many of us, we may consider our weakness as an obstacle to achievement, however, the Apostle Paul faced many obstacles but one in particular brought him frequently to his knees and the throne room of God… 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (NLT)… “So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Rick Jones, Executive Director, Defiance Area Youth for Christ. For more information about the work of Youth for Christ, you may contact Youth for Christ at 419-782-0656, P.O. Box 111, 210 Clinton Street, Defiance, Ohio 43512, or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.