But I am alive, and not drowned, as all my ship’s company was.
I am singled out and separated, as it were, from all the world to be miserable.
But I am singled out, too, from all the ship’s crew to be spared from death;
I am divided from mankind, a solitaire, one banished from human society.
But I am not starved and perishing on a barren place affording no sustenance.
I have not clothes to cover me.
But I am in a hot climate, where if I had clothes I could hardly wear them.
I am without any defense or means to resist any violence of man or beast.
But I am cast on an island where I see no wild beasts to hurt me, as I saw on the coast of Africa; what if I had been shipwrecked there?
I have no soul to speak to or relieve me.
But God so wonderfully sent the ship in near enough to the shore, that I have gotten out so many necessary things [to] supply my wants.
So were the musings of Robinson Crusoe in the novel by Daniel Dafoe. If you aren’t familiar with the story Crusoe was shipwrecked on an island alone for most of the 27 years he lived there. If someone had reason to be discouraged and complain about his situation Crusoe certainly did. The above is one of the entries in his journal. Notice the contrast between the first sentence in each pair of sentences. The first is a very valid complaint about his circumstances. The second it a very valid statement of gratitude concerning the same.
Crusoe demonstrates how we, as believers in God’s sovereignty and grace, should view each aspect of our lives. No one promised that we would have an easy pain free life. The direct opposite is true. Jesus told use we would have troubles. Some have more pain and hardship than others but the response should always be to acknowledge the situation, then praise and thank God for his provision for us.
We can, and often do, focus only on the first ignoring the second. Why do we do that? God is always with us. He has allowed the challenge to happen for His reason. Often it’s so we can improve our character to be more like Christ’s. That alone is worth thanking Him.
Thanking God in all circumstances shows a spiritual maturity both Paul and James spoke about.
Phil. 4:11-12 for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot.a In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.
James 1:2-4 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
How we look at our life’s challenges determines our attitude. Crusoe chose to acknowledge his troubles but then focused on the blessings God had given him within them. Let us emulate him.