In one of George Bernard Shaw’s plays, a successful young woman challenges the idea that we are victims of our circumstances. “I don’t believe in circumstances,” she declares. “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”1
That might sound a bit idealistic, especially to those who struggle to overcome some very difficult circumstances. But there’s something inspiring about the message to never give in, to never surrender to forces outside our control. It’s true that we all have circumstances we can’t control. But we also all have something else that’s even more important: deep down, we all have hopes and aspirations. We have principles and values that matter to us. It’s that kind of thing that makes a raft different from driftwood—the raft has a destination. Our desire and hope for a better life, a better future, can prevail against the wind and waves and carry us forward.
Yes, our past does, to a large degree, shape us. But we shape our future. We can choose who we want to become.
But how do we do it, especially when our situation seems to limit our choices? We can start by evaluating what we’re looking for in life. “Seek, and ye shall find,” the scriptures promise.2 If we look with hope for a way forward, we will find it in time. If we look for evidence of love and kindness, we will find them. If we seek beauty and grace, they will come into our lives. If we search for things to appreciate, we will discover them in abundance. And if we search for God, we will find Him.
That doesn’t mean it will be quick or easy—life was never meant to be that way. Instead, it was meant to teach us, to challenge us, to help us grow. So instead of surrendering to circumstances, we learn from them. And through small and simple choices in the direction of hope, we eventually create the circumstances we want.
February 27, 2022
Broadcast Number 4,824
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
O Clap Your Hands
The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare
Dmitri Bortniansky; arr. Mack Wilberg
Prelude on “Pisgah”
Sing Praise to Him
Bohemian Brethren’s Songbook; arr. Mack Wilberg
Softly and Tenderly
Will L. Thompson; arr. Mack Wilberg
Come, Labor On
T. Tertius Noble; arr. Ryan Murphy