News April 2011

Adversity in the world today

We are seeing adversity at an unprecedented level in the world today. It touches us all, the earthquake in Japan attests to this and our hearts go out to those thousands of people who have lost their lives and the many people who mourn their loss.

Yet perhaps it is timely to remind ourselves that it is not the adversity, but our reaction to it that makes the difference. In his book “Man’s Search For Meaning”, Austrian Psychiatrist Victor Frankl writes of his struggle to survive in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. While he survived, he found that men died for lack of hope, or as it is written, a broken spirit! (Proverbs18:14). He could tell by the look on a man’s face that he would die that day – and he was right every time.

The ‘Stolen Generations’ could have given up, and after all that they went through, who could blame them. Families torn apart by well meaning or not so well meaning officials. Decimated by an authority that felt it was doing the right thing. Facing the destruction of all that they lived for. Their cultural ways denied them and their voices and language banned from use, in attempt to integrate the children into the ways of the white man. These people could have died through lack of hope. Some did, others turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain while others realised the need to live in victory in the adversity.

What was different for the survivors? For those who faced adversity and lived in victory? Perhaps part of the answer comes from Victor Frankl, as he quotes philosopher Nietzsche’s words:

“He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”


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