Positive Negatives

Helen Keller

Most people have heard of Helen Keller, whose triumph over her disabilities made her famous and an inspiration, not only to those with physical disabilities, but to us all. Helen’s profound blindness and deafness to this world sharpened her sense of the reality of the spiritual world. This is why the Writings of Swedenborg resonated so strongly with her and were “her strongest incentive to overcome limitations.” Knowing we are in this world not just for the sake of ourselves but for the sake of our usefulness to others, Helen worked tirelessly for women’s rights and the rights of people with disabilities, and her life story continues to be an inspiration to many, long after her passing. As an angel in heaven no doubt she can now see and hear and continue to inspire us earthlings to follow her lead.

Swedenborg witnessed in heaven that everyone is an angel in the making. It is through our struggles that our character is formed. We can choose to let things get the better of us and make us bitter or we can try to look positively on our difficulties and see them for what they are – opportunities for forming and strengthening character and making a difference in the world. Sometimes it takes strength to ask for help. But then this gives someone else the opportunity to be of compassionate service. God can bring good out of any situation.

We may hate to admit it but we probably have faults and tendencies that get in the way of our happiness and relationships with others at times. Things like impatience, or a sense of superiority, or you name it. They usually come out when we’re under pressure. The reason they are allowed to show up is so they can come to our attention and be dealt with. They are things that the Lord can heal over time with our cooperation. If they didn’t come to the surface they would be like sores that fester under the skin and eventually poison the blood and infect the whole body. So, the fact that they break out is a positive thing because then we can take steps to change our ways. We can’t do this on our own. But with the Lord’s strength we can change the way we act on the outside while He mends our spirit and makes us a new creation on the inside. As He said, “I make all things new!” (Revelation 21:5). This is the process we go through to become angels in heaven, where we will be able to see by looking back on our lives the good that has come out of our difficulties and struggles.