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Finding Opportunities in Difficulties

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Whoever seeks good finds favor,
     but evil comes to one who searches for it
. — Proverbs 11:27

In 1940, Gracie and Waltz went on their honeymoon. They had rented a romantic log cabin for their getaway. However, the peaceful retreat was ruined by a woodpecker pecking on their roof incessantly. It would wake them at dawn and keep them awake at night. To make matters worse, when it rained one evening, the couple discovered that noise-pollution was not the only upsetting thing that the woodpecker contributed; it had also made holes in the roof allowing the rain into the cabin. Some honeymoon!

Having this experience, most people would have called the honeymoon a disaster. But Gracie and Waltz didn’t have that attitude. Instead they asked, “What if this is an opportunity?” It turns out that Waltz worked in the field of animation and was looking for a new character. His wife suggested the woodpecker. Woody Woodpecker was the result — one of the top 50 most famous animated characters in history.

On their 50th anniversary, the couple was interviewed. As they recalled their disastrous honeymoon, they described it as “the best thing to ever happen to us.”

This story is a clear example of how our attitude toward what happens to us is far more important than what actually happens to us. In fact, our perspective on our life events is ultimately what determines the trajectory of our lives.

King Solomon recognized that. In Proverbs, he wrote: “Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.” If we look for the good in every situation, we will find it. In the same way, if we are negative and thrive on being a victim of life, we will find validation for our victimhood anywhere we look.

However, God never wanted the Jewish people to be victims. This is why He took us out of Egypt and lifted us up as His people. This is why He continues to provide and care for us every day. This is why He commands us to do the same for others – to show others that they are not victims and there is help, love, and hope for a good future.

Let’s learn the lesson of Waltz and Gracie. This week, let us commit to looking for the good and the opportunities even in the most difficult situations. And let’s take the teaching one step further by helping others to do the same. Every time we give someone charity with dignity, each time we reach out to someone lonely, any time we help another fellow human being, we are sending a message of hope and leading people from being a victim to being a victor.

 
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein is founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. An Orthodox rabbi who lives in Jerusalem, he has authored 10 published books as well as many articles and commentaries for the national media. This content was originally published by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and is republished with permission.
 
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