You have heard the saying Cool as a cucumber. There is validity to this expression because studies show that a cucumber is usually 20 degrees cooler than the temperature of the environment, hence, cool as a cucumber. Sometimes, however, the cucumber is not so cool because of the extreme heat of its environment.
For those of us who ascribe to the blessing of serenity, we may find it sometimes humanly impossible to remain in a state of serenity when going through the fiery trials of life. The sudden, unexpected loss of a loved one; the rejection by a spouse; the trial of false accusations, or being misunderstood, the list could go on. One of my favorite movies is Shawshank Redemption. It was a movie about a man who was falsely accused of murder, but throughout most of his sentence he remained cool as a cucumber. His secrete was revealed towards the end of the movie. He said the wardens couldn’t take away what was hidden in his mind and his heart. Because of this, he was able to endure solitary confinement for weeks as he firmly embraced pleasant thoughts he had stored away in his mind.
Although Shaw Shank Redemption was a fictional movie, there were and are people who have endured great hardships while maintaining a sense of serenity throughout their trial. There was Joseph in the book of Genesis who was sold into slavery by his older brothers, and who was placed into prison for at least two years during his enslavement in Egypt. There was Daniel who was thrown into the lions’ den because of his unbending faith in God. There are many others from the bible who were persecuted. However, one of the more modern-day characters is Viktor Frankl. He stands out because after he was imprisoned at a concentration camp during World War 2, he set an example of the importance of inner peace during cruel and unfair circumstances. In his book: Man’s Search for Meaning, he lists 5 lessons when enduring hardships:
- We always retain the ability to choose our attitude
- There will be suffering-it’s how we react to suffering that counts
- The power of purpose
- The true test of our character is revealed in how we act
- Human kindness can be found in the most surprising places
When life experiences are going well, we often take for granted these simple truths. If a stranger holds a door open for you on a very cold winter day, you may not think much of it when all is well in your life, but if you have just experienced being treated cruelly by someone, that act of kindness may become a part of your fondest memories.
There was a song that became popular during a time of trial in my life. It is called, Life is Hard But God is Good. If you enjoy music and you are facing a trial, listening to this song is highly recommended. During times of difficulty, we often question God’s love for us, and depending on where you are in your faith, there maybe the question of God’s goodness. It is true that God is Holy and tolerates no sin, but the bible says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life”-John 3:16. This means that God made a way to dwell with us even while we are in sin, and He helps us through our crisis. Because of this, we can have serenity in the midst of our fiery trials of life.