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Easy to say, you retort. What about pain, emotional and physical? What about financial pressure? Rejection? Depression (unless it’s clinical)? I didn’t say it’s easy; there is a way to cope and rise above the feelings of panic and hopelessness that beset many of us, where we don’t see a way out, or things are not going to change. There is a way to cope by looking at our circumstances differently.

Nina wrote, “The lotus flower is a beautiful flower that can be found all over the world. But the start of this flowers life is not as beautiful is one might image. It’s unlike many other flowers. When the lotus first begins to sprout, it is under water, making its home in lakes and ponds in areas where the water remains fairly still on the surface. But underneath the surface, the lotus is surrounded by mud and muck and by fish, by insects, and simply dirty, rough conditions.

“Despite these conditions, the lotus flower maintains strength, and pushes aside each of these dirty obstacles as it makes its way to clearer surfaces. At this time, the lotus is still just a stem with only a few leaves, and a small flower pod. But in time, the stem continues to grow, and the pod slowly surfaces above the water, into the clean air, finally freeing itself from the harsh life conditions below. It is then that the lotus slowly opens each beautiful petal to the sun, basking in the worldly beauty surrounding it. The lotus flower is ready to take on the world.

“Despite being born into dark, murky conditions, where hope for such beautiful life seems dubious, the lotus grows, rises above adversity. Ironically, this same dirty water washes it clean as it surfaces. As the lotus opens each petal to the air, not a stain or spot of mud remains externally. The inner lotus too, has never seen a drop of mud or dirty water. It is pure, and bright, and beautiful.”

When you read books like “Tortured for Christ,” “The Lonesome Road,” “As Far as My Feet will Carry Me,” and others showing how people mentally and emotionally overcame terrible circumstances, one golden thread runs through it all: PURPOSE. If we can find a personal purpose for surviving and freedom, if we can find a purpose in our suffering, if we can see a purpose and a reason to go on, and a reason to hope, we can ride the hard waves much easier. We need an answer to WHY and HOW? And when we find the right people with whom to align ourselves in our suffering, life will become infinitely easier.

This is the best article I have ever found on dealing with suffering. It answers many, many questions and I believe many will be helped by reading it. Gene R. Cook has helped many by writing it, and many more who read it will be very grateful for it.

Robin Elliott   LeverageAdvantage.com

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