We all love to hate pain. Don’t we? Unfortunately, though, pain is an indispensable part of our life. All of us – poor and rich, educated and illiterate, young and old, famous or otherwise – have the right to go through hard times. As much as we dislike them tough times do fall on us all and at times without warning.
Although all of us will go through tough times not all of us are ready to handle them. Consequently, when problems strike many of us allow our hearts to be broken and slip into depression. Worse still, most people indulge in sex, over eating, alcohol and drugs – indulgences that devastate millions of lives every year.
As I write this February morning the media is littered with sad news, the world has lost yet another young talent to the common enemy- drugs.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was the award-winning actor and director whose range of accomplishments was the envy of all his peers. Last October Hoffman separated from his long-term partner and mother of his three children. After being thrown out of their home with his partner the actor moved to a $10,000-a-month apartment in Bethune Street in Manhattan. On Sunday, 2nd of February 2014 Philip Hoffman was found dead in his fourth floor West Village apartment. The 46-year-old actor was discovered on the floor of the bathroom with a syringe sticking out of his arm and 70 bags of heroin scattered nearby.
Study show that in the past few years drugs have become a multibillion-dollar industry. The top five psychotropic drugs (drugs that helps cope with mental / emotional behavioral disorders) combined gross more money than the gross national product of over half the countries on Earth. All together, the psychiatric industry takes in over 300 billion dollars a year. While some users sacrifice their lives to an addiction they can’t escape, others find drugs (together with sex, food, and alcohol) to be their saving grace from physical and emotional pain.
I am not blaming any one for not being able to cope with issues of life because in the past few years I have had a fair share of hard knocks myself – traumatic illnesses, accidents, failed businesses and fragmented relationships – losing almost everything in the process. I have known what it means to live on charity food bank and sleeping rough, sharing accommodation with drug addicts, alcoholics and ex-offenders. Because of all this various people – especially those that knew me – treated me with contempt. To say the least I felt rejected, betrayed, isolated, useless, and hopeless.
To a great extent, my misery was exacerbated by the lack of a survival mechanism. Although I was a minister of the gospel from a young age I didn’t know how to cope with the hard times. For years, I was made to believe that ‘holiness’ and strong faith was enough to make one immune from adversity. This mentality made me naïve, cynical and vulnerable. When I fell into hard times I thought God had deserted me. Honestly I never thought I would survive without my children and without my lovely wife of almost twenty years. I wondered how I could cope without money and without a job. Once more I felt cheated by God and many times I completely lost the will to live. The pain was unbearable.
Thankfully, God supplied His grace to match my pain. Every time I thought I was down and out somehow He gave me the courage to start again. Instead of turning to addictive substances I fell in to God’s strong hands. As I fought to cope with my emotional trauma I devoted my time to fasting, praying and studying. I learned from the Holy Spirit, from other great individuals who had been through tough times and from the scriptures. The result was amazing; not only that I survived a four-year adversity but I also discovered love, peace and fulfilment beyond my wildest imagination.
In the midst of all these dark moments, I discovered what I now call “Power Nuggets” – thoughts that when learned and accepted help one navigate through hard times as they did to me.
The lessons that I learned during my hard-times have become my ethos – my core value that provides me with the reason, guidance and the drive to live God’s purpose for me on earth. This ethos can be summed up like this;
“the quality of life on earth is directly proportional to the degree to which a person understands and accepts God’s autonomy, abstruse wisdom and unconditional love. Such an attitude – apart from making one feel fulfilled, happy, and calm at all times – enriches the bearer with an understanding of life that fills them with an appreciation, a sensitivity, empathy, respect, love, and a deep selfless concern for the welfare of others.”
Strength For Living, therefore, is a collection of distinct Power Nuggets written during my dark years. Each article carries a unique message that has the potential to help you to not only survive hard times but to also enjoy a fulfilled life.
Initially, I published these articles on this blog as well as to thousands of my worldwide email contacts as devotionals. As a sample feedback depicts below, these thoughts have been equally helpful to many.
These messages give me courage and hope. I don’t know if you send the same messages to everyone, but I have always felt them being personal. You speak directly to my spirit and are always spot on giving meaning to things that are going on in my life at the moment. I am blessed …Thank you very much. – Mary
You have affected countless lives through your writing. They are amazing both in content and quality. I am doubly blessed by this spiritual diet and masterpiece that actually describe my state in the past two years … from the depth of my heart, thank you for allowing virtue to flow through you. – Ogbole, P
…These are helpful messages … I have developed a habit of reading them every evening and more so when I’m going through hard times. I always feel energized as I read them… Thank you so much and God bless you.- S.L. Masanja
…These messages are helping the entire family in the healing process after our recent loss. Thank you – Jackie, S
I cannot guarantee you that Strength For Living will definitely make you better because I don’t know whether you will open your heart to them or not. What I know quite well, however, is that these thoughts have been my strength in hard times and have certainly made my life far better than I would be without
My sincere hope is that they will serve you well, too.
(This is the first page of Strength for Living)
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