It’s not an example he wanted to set, but he set it nonetheless.
In his book 70 X 7, The Freedom of Forgiveness, David Ugsberger writes of the day General William Booth (founder of The Salvation Army) learned the severity of his visual difficulties. Booth had lost his eyesight, and his son Bramwell was given the difficult task of telling his father there would be no recovery. “Do you mean that I am blind?” the General asked. “I hear we must contemplate that,” his son replied. The father continued, “I shall never see your face again?” “No, probably not in this world,” was the best his son could offer.
“Bramwell,” said Booth, “I have done what I could for God and His people with my eyes. Now I shall do what I can for God without my eyes.”
Oh to have such faith and fortitude! In the face of tremendous loss and suffering, General Booth chose to find joy and continued purpose. We have no way of knowing all the people who witnessed Booth’s example of joy amidst suffering, but Bramwell would later become the second General of the Salvation Army following in his father’s footsteps, and Bramwell’s daughter, Catherine, would serve within the Army for 44 years.
People have always been watching. Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul stated their joy despite their severe suffering became a model to everyone around them.
You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)
Friends, I understand that our natural desire would be to model how to live joyously after winning $10 Million from the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes – but that’s NOT likely to happen! But we all will likely inherit significant suffering – how will we respond during those times? Believe it or not, our response could become a model to many around us. –Dave
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