Healthy Leaders


Life’s Greatest Challenges: Where Leaders are Made

Joe HandleyJoe Handley

Your plan

Do you ever feel like your life follows the pattern of this biker? We make our plans but they often go in much different ways!

The theme of our recent Global Leaders’ Summit hit this very topic. Adrian De Visser shared a story about a young crippled boy who went with his family to purchase a puppy. The kennel owner pointed the boy toward the healthy young pups and steered him away from the runt of the litter who was suffering from being crippled himself. The kennel owner told the boy, “You don’t want that one. He’s crippled and won’t be any good for you!” The boy looked at the owner and lifted the blankets off his own leg revealing the same condition. He said, “That puppy is perfect! He’s the one I want!”

That is exactly how God looks at all of us. We all are crippled in some way, shape or form and yet God loves us just as we are. In fact, the more hardship we face, the more we are shaped and formed by Him for the lessons of life. Our character is honed and we become even better leaders as we respond well.

Abigail Adams said this to her son, John Quincy:

These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.

The key is how we respond to life’s challenges. Do we complain and moan? I often do… Or, like the crippled boy, do we see beyond the circumstances and see the golden nuggets in the midst of our trials? I continue learning this lesson… In this season, the Lord has taught me where to find life and taken me frequently to this passage in Proverbs 8:33-35:

Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.
Blessed is the one who listens to Me,
watching daily at My gates,
waiting beside My doors.
For whoever finds Me finds life
and obtains favor from the LORD.

Where do you find life? How are you facing life’s greatest challenges? This is the stuff where leaders are made, shaped and formed.

The questions we wrestled with together are as follows:

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Joe Handley