The original story has been removed at the request of the author. We apologize to our readers. Please read this story by Mike Brooks, who works in Nepal and Bangladesh.
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
Conventional wisdom says, “Do not travel in South Asia during the Monsoon season.” From Late May to mid-September this region receives the vast majority of its annual rainfall. It rains nearly every day, and flooding is prevalent. Travel is difficult at best, impossible if one’s destination is a rural village accessible only via dirt roads, or if floodwaters cover (or wash out) the highways. Frequent rains keep one wet, humidity is high and uncomfortable and the general atmosphere is rather soggy and unpleasant.
Sometimes one just has to travel regardless of circumstance. Recent experience has revealed that the listed disadvantages are real, but their over-all effect is less severe than expected. Temperatures are actually lower during the height of the monsoon than just before it begins; daily rains have a cooling effect. Rain is frequent, but not constant and one can often do several hours of outside activity each day. Flood waters must be avoided, but they often can be, and in other cases, just waiting a few days for them to recede takes care of the problem. True, there are places one cannot get to, but plenty more that are available and are just as much in need of visiting.
The point is that circumstances do not determine life. Life goes on — things must be done — regardless of circumstance. If it is dry, cool, and pleasant, that is wonderful and we may be more comfortable and more efficient. But the weather is often otherwise. We can be at its mercy, or we can go ahead and do what needs to be done, as best we can.
This principle does not apply only to weather, of course. People may be cooperative and helpful, enabling us to work and relate well with them. That is excellent, and we appreciate those times and opportunities. But people are often not like that. Do we let that cause us to fail to minister to them as Christians? Do we allow their negative attitudes change our values and character? God forbid.
Paul points out the importance of one’s inner convictions in this regard:
“I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean” (Romans 14:14).
He is talking about different kinds of food, some of which Christians were being forbidden to eat. Paul says there is no food which defiles. Christians are free to eat all kinds of foods. But if someone sees harm in a food and considers it unclean for himself, then that makes it unclean, but only for that one individual.
This principle is easily applied in a wider arena. Circumstances frequently do not determine our actions. Rather it is our perception of and reaction to those circumstances which cause us to act in certain ways.
One writer told of a recession in a certain city. He spoke to two different realtors, asking them “How are things going?” The first responded, “Terrible. No one has any money. I am not selling any houses.” The response of the second was different however. She said, “I am having the best period ever. People are not working, so there is plenty of time to look for houses. I have made many sales.” They were in exactly the same situation, but reacted to it in opposite ways. One saw the recession as a negative factor and was discouraged. The other saw it positively, as an opportunity, and took advantage.
Most that happens to us in life is neither good or bad in itself. That is determined by our attitude and reaction. If we view things positively, doing what we can, good will come.
Mike is a long-time columnist for Forthright Magazine, from which this article was taken.
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He enjoys his new home office. http://randal.us