Frederick Langbridge (1849-1923), in describing the different ways people react to the same set of circumstances, wrote in “A Cluster of Quiet Thoughts,” “Two men look out through the same bars; One sees the mud, the one the stars.”

     The following poem which has been in circulation for years describes the same challenge and the different reactions to that challenge from a lighthearted perspective.


Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl

One was an optimistic soul,

But the other took the gloomy view.

“We’ll drown,”  he cried, without more ado,

And with a last despairing cry,

He flung up his legs and said, “Goodbye.”

Quote the other frog with steadfast grin,

“I can’t get out, but I won’t give in.

I’ll swim around till my strength is spent,

Then I’ll die the more content.”

Bravely he swam to work his scheme,

And his struggles began to churn the cream.

The more he swam, his legs a-flutter,

The more the cream turned into butter.

On top of the butter at last he stopped

And out of the bowl he gaily hopped.

What is the moral??  It’s easily found:

If you can’t hop out, keep swimming around!

Toward the end of his life, the Apostle Paul found himself in a very difficult situation.  Roughly the last thirty years of his life had been spent serving the Lord enduring one difficulty after another.  He was a now prisoner under guard in the city of Rome.  From his confinement, he wrote,  “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Phil. 4:11,12)

These words along with the previous lighthearted poem and Langbridge’s wise words all confirm that life’s circumstances do not have to dictate our attitude.  We can not always control the situations life presents us.  But we can control our reaction to them.  We don’t know the foundation of Langbridge’s words nor that of the poem’s author.  But we do know Paul’s.  He recorded it in the next verse, “I can do all things through HIm who strengthens me.”  His relationship with Christ allowed Him contentment in every circumstance.  And so it will with us as well.



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