Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has a brilliant mind. He has been compared by some to Albert Einstein. But he has a rare degenerative disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS syndrome or motor neurone disease). And it has left him virtually paralyzed. He learned to use a computer with the tips of his fingers and was able to communicate his calculations and thoughts.
Before he became ill, he described his life as a ‘pointless existence’. He drank too much and did very little work. But after discovering that he perhaps had only a few years to live, life suddenly took on an urgency and a new meaning. And he was actually happier than he was before. He explained the paradox this way: ‘When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything that one does have.’
When you’re told that you only have a limited time left to live, it transforms your whole perspective on living. Things you overlook suddenly become meaningful: the laughter of children, a sunrise or sunset, the love of friends and family, or just a walk in the park.
The most miserable people in the world are those who believe that life ‘owes them’. They’re never happy, because they never believe they get what they deserve. The apostle Paul was in prison with no hope of getting out when he wrote, ‘In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’
What was he saying?
Simply this: Instead of competing, comparing, and complaining, focus on the good things God has given you, enjoy them and develop an attitude of gratitude (Philippians 4:8).
‘In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God…for you.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV