It was almost springtime in the Rockies – but it was anything but springtime in my heart – I had just been fired.
Wearily I rose from the fireplace pit in our Shangri-la of a chalet, our dream house, and walked over to the great window, blindly seeing but not seeing. Would we lose the only house we’d ever really loved? How would we pay our bills? Was it stupid for me to have left the relatively safe cocoon of academia, uprooted our family, and ventured out into the great world? That jungle of a world out there where only the strongest survive.
We did lose our dream-house.
But before that, we had a visitor: the late Milton Murray, grand old man of American fund-raising. He hadn’t come to commiserate, he’d come to dissipate the miasma of anguish that beclouded my vision. He’d come to awaken my fighting spirit, quench the flames of bitterness, stiffen the crumbling walls of my self-worth, and remind me that God loved me. But wisely, knowing full well that I’d relapse after he left, he introduced me to a man who’d also been battered by failure, a failure far more devastating than mine, but had – in no small part, because of it – risen above the wreckage of his dreams and written timeless counsel for people like me. Murray handed me two chapters out of one of that man’s books. Then, after praying with my wife and me, he left.
Murray had been right: I did relapse into poormeism, but each time I did, I’d once again re-read the words penned by that man I’d never met – indeed I’d never meet – for he’d died some years before. But his words had not died. I read them so many times they became part of me. I later tracked down his books and immersed myself in them as well. His name was Harry Moyle Tippett, and he lived from 1891 to 1974. No small thanks to him, I was able to climb out of my lethargy and face the world with resoluteness, determination, a fighting spirit – and a vision of what true success really meant.
Tomorrow, in Blog #5, we’ll tackle Part Two. But first, I leave you with one of Tippett’s powerful statements about trouble and how God brings us through it:
“God’s universal laws never fail, whether it be in the natural world or the spiritual world. He brings the dawn out of the most dismal night. He makes our balmy springs and fruitful summers to succeed the bitter blasts of winter. Out of blustery, tempestuous March He makes way for our singing Aprils and our flowering Mays. Out of ten thousand storms He develops the giant redwood tree, and in the cloud forms His noblest symphony of color, the rainbow. Likewise out of forty years of banishment and obscurity God carved a Moses, out of cruel betrayal into the hands of aliens He molded the statesman Joseph; out of physical, mental, and spiritual suffering He demonstrated the perfection of Job.”
– From Live Happier (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1957)