I had never seen anything like it. While traveling through Asia many years ago, we spent several days in the most populated, packed city of China—Shanghai. While quietly people-watching out of our tour bus window, I saw an older-looking gentleman moving massive rocks with what appeared to be an ancient yoke. His back bowed under the weight of the thick wooden rod stretched across his shoulders; ropes tied to each side hung low to the ground due to the weight of the boulders. He walked slowly and looked exhausted, but he paced his steps and stayed the course.
We had been on the Great Wall days earlier—a mind-blowing 13,170.69-mile manmade structure dating back to before the birth of Christ. Talk about standing the test of time! The Wall has been bombarded by barbaric wars and slammed by some of the world’s deadliest natural disasters, yet it remains one of the original Seven Wonders of the World.
Challenges and Change
Asia is full of folks who have learned to build and rebuild. Interestingly, we see the same work throughout Scripture—people being forced to build and rebuild their lives due to countless catastrophic events. From palaces to pyramids, arks to ancient burial grounds, baskets that saved lives and fed thousands—since time began, one word describes what is demanded of us all: change.
Lasting change almost always appears impossible . . . at first. I’ll be the first to say I don’t prefer it unless it’s like changing a vacation from camping to cruising the Caribbean. I’m talking about hard change, getting dumped from your comfort zone, being forced to rebuild what you spent half your life putting together. It can come in the form of disaster, disease, grief, death, loss, divorce, betrayal, abuse, relocating, occupation reshaping—anything that leaves us feeling lost and alone.
Most of us get stuck right there because we allow our feelings to take over. Worry, anger, helplessness, hopelessness, fear, and sorrow are a few for starters. If we aren’t taken captive by our emotions, we may be caught up in endless, unanswerable questions like why, what caused this, who did this, how could a good God allow this, what am I supposed to do now. Negative emotions and unanswerable questions keep us stuck and distracted from the one thing that could change everything.
Shanghai today is nothing like it was 20 years ago; explosive growth, economic change, and international developments have transformed Shanghai into a massively cosmopolitan city. How did change begin? It began for Shanghai just as it does for you and me—with an attitude purposed to examine what was possible. As a result, over the last 20 years Shanghai has made huge shifts in the global market, built the largest mall in the world, laid down 1,400 miles of roads, and hosted the most expensive Olympic Games in history. Shanghai continues to expand its global economy and presence.
Attitude precedes action every time; never forget that!
Let Me Hear from You
Where do you want to be in 20 years? Has life dropped a bombshell on you recently? Have you been taken captive by your emotions or unhelpful, unanswerable questions? Perhaps God doesn’t answer your questions because He is longing for you to seek Him instead of seeking answers. Further, demanding the Creator of the universe answer our human questions is an attitude of entitlement.
Remember that productive, purposeful change begins with an attitude. What’s your attitude been like lately? Is your attitude going to get you where you want to be in 20 years? What can you change today that will lead to a better tomorrow? Don’t wait another day.
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