“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.” – Philippians 4:12
There’s a story about a man I had once known back in my college days who became quite successful in business. Yet, despite his success and prosperity, he also became addicted to alcohol, sinking deeper and deeper until it cost him everything he had worked so hard to attain. Eventually, after hitting rock bottom he went into recovery, got sober, and with his wife’s support launched a new business venture from which he was able to regain his wealth, his health, and most importantly his dignity.
Ups and downs in life can happen to any of us. In fact, they do happen to all of us at one time or another. And it’s not always financial. Crises can occur from many situations, such as health issues, loss of a loved one, divorce, business failures, job loss, family problems, or battling addictions as with my former acquaintance, just to name a few. Misfortunes can be of our own making, or just plain bad luck.
I’ve had my own ups and downs through the years. One occurred thirty-five years-ago when I was in my mid-thirties. My career at the time was rising at a rapid pace – but unfortunately, so was my ego – when a career opportunity presented itself that was sure to be the one where I would make my fortune. So, off I went to another city, my uprooted family in tow. It only took a few weeks to realize what a mistake I had made.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty,” the Apostle Paul writes. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,” he goes on, “whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Ups and downs are inevitable. What I’ve learned over the years from experiencing ups and downs of various kinds, is to not let the ups take you down, as my ego once did with me. But if you find yourself down, know where to find the strength you need to rise back up. In other words, when you’re up find the humility to simply be thankful. And when you’re down, lean on the source of your strength, that is those who love you and the grace of God. For, it was through God’s grace and the love of my family that my career not only revived but once again thrived. And I’m pretty sure if you asked that old acquaintance of mine, he would tell you the same thing.