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Real People… Real Obstacles

Trees with roots showing

In life, all of us will face obstacles. Adversity, as we call it, insists that we respond to a series of questions: Will we adapt, do what we have got to do, and move forward, or will we allow the opposition to win? Will we be transmitters or transformers? Will we find opportunity and silver among the clouds, or will we find storms in every sunset? How we choose to respond to adversity can make or break our ability to accomplish the purposes we choose to pursue. Fortunately, much of the adversity we face in life ultimately works in our favor. It challenges us. It teaches us. It causes us to reach a little higher and dig a little deeper.

When I think of the value of adversity, I am reminded of the following story as told by Jerry Stemkoski: One early spring day I met an old farmer. It had been a rainy spring, and I commented about how good it must be for the crops to have so much rain early in the season. He replied, “No, if the weather is too easy on the crops now, the plants may only grow roots on the surface. If that happens, then a storm could easily destroy the crops. However, if things are not so easy in the beginning, then the plants will have to grow the strong and deep roots they need to get at the water and nourishment down below. If a storm or drought comes, they are more likely to survive.” Now I look at rough times as an opportunity to put down some roots to help me weather future storms that may come my way.

You may have seen individuals who have been handed everything in life, not having to work for anything, only to see their lives come crumbling down because they never developed strong enough roots to “weather the storm.” They were unable to adapt because they were never forced to deal with adversity. They were unable to transform because they could only see storms within the sunset. Think about one of life’s challenges you have faced and about the opportunity it represented. What did you learn from it? Did you reach higher and dig a little deeper? Then, did you move forward with the knowledge that you are stronger as a result of the experience? You have the right stuff!

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