Articles by Stan Dean

You Think You Have Problems?

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I suppose we all remember things we were told by our parents while we were growing up that are firmly ingrained in our thought processes. One of those that my dad taught me was about discouragement. He would say, “Son, when you get to feeling low and think that the weight of the world is on your shoulders, just look around you. You can always find people who are in worse shape than you. When you see them, tell yourself, ‘If they can make it, then so can I.’”

I could not help but think of those words when I read of a man named Lawrence Hanratty. Back in 1995 several newspapers ran a feature on him calling him “The Unluckiest Man in New York.” The first thing noted was that a few years before the article was published, Hanratty was almost electrocuted in a construction accident which left him in a coma for two weeks. That led to a lawsuit over a liability claim- - but he lost his lawyers. One was disbarred, two died and his wife ran off with the other!

The column went on to report that Hanratty had been in a car wreck the previous year. When the police left the scene he was held up and robbed. But wait, there is more!

Hanratty had been fighting heart and liver disease for years. He was dependent on oxygen and took 42 pills a day for his ailments. Adding insult to injury, at the time the article was published the insurance company wanted to cut off his worker’s compensation benefits and his landlord was threatening to kick him out of his apartment.

Oh, and I failed to mention that Hanratty was only 38 years old. However, he said he was not giving up. He told the newspaper reporter, “There is always hope!”
I do not have a follow-up after this interview, but at least at the time it was published he had a good grip on his situation.

I use this story to challenge you and me. The world is full of problems. It pretty much always has been and always will be. But there is always hope- - especially when we put our trust in Jesus. He has the power to make good things out of bad ones (Romans 8:28). He also promises to one day set us free from all the problems of this world (Revelation 21:3-5). Yes, in Him, there is hope indeed!

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