One of my favorite summer reads from recent years was Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. I hadn’t read it until I was an adult, and as I scanned its exploration into human suffering, forgiveness, and revenge, I was mesmerized by its emotion, passion, and unforgettable quotes and scenes.
One of the quotes that stayed with me was the following:
“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout, ‘Do your worst, for I will do mine!’” –Edmond Dantes, The Count of Monte Cristo
There is truth in that quote. Life can indeed seem capricious, rescuing us one day and smashing us the next. And it is also true that how we handle the smashing is very important. Greatness in a person is usually forged between the hammer and anvil of hard times.
When the pain gets too great or lasts too long, we feel helpless, like there is nothing we can do in response, but that is not true. The storm can do its worst but so can we.
The Apostle Paul said it this way, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” He went on, “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 15)
That’s how it works in the life of faith. Brokenness begets ministry. Dr. E. Stanley Jones said it this way, “Jesus was betrayed, and behold there was a Good Friday and a resurrection.”
I hope you are sun-bathing today near an emerald lagoon under clear and benevolent skies. But if you’re not, if you’re being held beneath some pounding waves, do your worst. Get back up. Regroup and heal. Then find someone else who needs a strong hand to steady them through the waves.