Sunday, July 12, 2020

Weekend Words

From Amish Proverbs - Suzanne Woods Fisher  

Handling Adversity

The Amish believe that God is sovereign over this world - everyone and everything in it.  "Adversity is just part of life, and you cope with adversity by accepting it," says Dr Joe Wittmer, author of  The Gentle People: an Inside View of Amish Life.  Such yielding to God's will is a distinctive Amish trait.

Non-Amish Christians typically (maybe not accurately, but typically) believe that their faith will deliver them from adversity.  The Amish believe they will be delivered in adversity.  When bad things happen, they don't question if God exists or why He would allow such a thing.  "That does not mean that they do not grieve a death, for example, but their grief always seems lighter to me," says Dr Wittmer.  "Maybe because it is shared by the entire community.  An individual really has no control over adversity or much of anything else, for that matter."

Rather than question God's ways - which the Amish would perceive as prideful - they strengthen their faith by dwelling on God's character and the hope for eternity.

The Amish are no strangers to adversity.  They are descendants of European Anabaptists, who in the late sixteenth century were the radicals of the day, persecuted and martyred for their beliefs.  A secret police force of "Anabaptist hunters" was organized to spy on, locate, and arrest Anabaptists for their nonconformist beliefs.  The Amish found refuge in remote parts of France, Switzerland and Germany, and farmed land that no-one else wanted.  Even today, at every church service, they sing centuries-old hymns that recall those days of persecution.  With such a background of hardship, self-sufficiency became a core value for the Amish.  Today they don't purchase insurance policies, they don't accept any government subsidies or pensions (though they do pay taxes), they don't send their children to public school.

But the Amish do take care of their own.  Mutual aid is provided to help in times of medical or financial difficulties.  The barn raising might be the best metaphor to illustrate how the Amish handle adversity.  When a barn burns down, they don't dwell on why it burned, they gather together to rebuild.  And then they praise God: for the lumber, the nails, the caring community that skillfully puts it together, the animals that will inhabit it, and for a chance to start again.  

Learn from your failures, or you will fail to learn.

The best way to escape evil is to pursue good.

We value the light more fully after we've come through the darkness.

You can tell when you're on the right track.  It's usually uphill.

Defeat isn't bitter if you don't swallow it.

Forgiveness withheld is like drinking poison and then waiting for the offender to die.

God wants to use you stumbling and all, but He can't if you refuse to get up.

Some may see a hopeless end, but as believers we rejoice in an endless hope.

Life is not a problem to be solved but a gift to be enjoyed.

Patience is accepting a difficult situation, without giving God a deadline to remove it.

Sunshine and Shadow quilt

A bit like life :)



  1. such truth here dear Lynda :)

  2. Reminds me of the "foot prints in the sand" poem.


  3. And today a patron called up and asked me to put aside a few books by Suzanne Woods Fisher; I wondered why the name seemed familiar. :)