When Dave’s fiancée got pregnant while they were still undergraduates in the university, little did he know that he was in for a tough experience!

First, he flunked his courses in the final year and had a spillover. Second, he had to withdraw from his department in church and students’ fellowship. Third, his fiancée had to put on hold her schooling until the baby arrived. And as if that wasn’t enough, he became a subject of ridicule among friends, and even family members!

The result: Dave was down, depressed and dejected. He wondered what he had done to deserve such a ‘special’ treatment from God, considering that the journey was good until he made that ‘great’ mistake!

Thanks to God and a friend, Dave came across a very wonderful book, titled ‘FAILING FORWARD’ by John C. Maxwell, which lifted him up from the depths of depression and inferiority complex, and launched him into a ministry that would affect lives and impact people around the world.

Through the recovery process however, he learnt one fundamental truth:
That challenges, no matter how big or small they are, bring with them unique opportunities for us to discover our true selves and bring out the best in us!

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines opportunity as “a time when a particular situation makes it possible to do or achieve something.” Opportunities are everywhere around us. They come in various shapes, sizes, colours and intensities. Their presence (or absence) could be for a fleeting moment, short-lived or long-lasting. They are sometimes packaged in big blessings and little mercies, but most often clothed in overalls and dressed as work or served chilled on a platter of pains and challenges.

Sometimes we laugh and rejoice when we draw dividends from opportunities we were quick to recognize and take advantage of, while other times we regret our inability to recognize some opportunities that are relevant to our successes in life. Worse still (and sadly to admit), some opportunities will never come our ways again, at least not in this lifetime!

In a nutshell, it is very important we recognize and harness the power of positive opportunities which come in times of challenges, fears, failures, frustrations and pains. I mean, those ‘dark times’ are the periods we need to use our inner light to illuminate those challenging circumstances within and around us.
Challenges will come; Pain will always be around; Sorrow could tarry for the night; Failures might be inevitable, while fears and frustrations could reveal our humanness; these are facts of life we may not have total control of, and may have to contend with.
But if there is one thing I am sure of: the best opportunities we have for succeeding in life are those periods when we are hard pressed and challenged.

A mentor told me one day, “Son, have you ever wondered why stars sparkle and glitter at night? That is because they harness the power of the night to bring out their individual and collective bests!”

I was fortunate to read the life experiences of some ordinary people who become great because they recognized and took advantage of positive opportunities when they went through the dark moments of their lives. Below are the words of some of them:

“People who have the ability to face unimaginable odds possess at their core at least three vital elements: a clear sense of personal identity, a strong sense of mission, and a deep sense of purpose. They learn to face challenges head-on, transforming their OBSTACLES into OPPORTUNITIES to grow and mature. They may stumble, but rather than falling down or giving up the fight, people who are fulfilled press on. They preserve with a godly attitude, keeping the end goal in sight.”
(‘A Game Plan for Facing Extreme Circumstances’ in the book, PAUL: A Man of Grace and Grit).

“We now look at life, ourselves, others, our challenges and options in light of Gods’ thoughts, not ours. We see OPPORTUNITIES where we saw only OBSTACLES, and POSSIBILITIES where we saw only PROBLEMS. Minds that were frazzled with worry are now filled with confidence and peace.”
(The word for today).

“Opportunity is missed by most because it dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

“The greatest secret of success in life is for a man to be ready, when his opportunity comes.”

“These trouble and sufferings… won’t lest very long. Yet… will result in God’s richest blessings upon us forever and ever! So we do not look at… the troubles… but we look forward to the joys… The troubles will soon be over but the joys to come will last forever (2 Corinthians 4.17,18 TLB).

“Pain offers proof of life!”

“The door of opportunities won’t open unless you push.”

“Consider it a sheer gift…when tests and challenges come at you from all sides” (James 1.2 MSG).

Dear friend, if you must succeed in life, you must identify, recognize and take those opportunities that are tailored and conditioned to bring out the BEST in you through challenges. The challenge(s) will present a platform on which you will launch your ministry.

So, when challenges come, always remember to:

OPERATE with a positive mindset;
PLAN, pray and prepare for ideas and solutions;
PERSEVERE and learn from every situation;
ORDER your priorities;
RECOGNIZE your time and seize the moment;
TAKE the bull by the horns, go for it and just do it;
UNDERSTAND yourself and your environment;
NEVER doubt your God-given ability to succeed;
INVEST your resources in people and worthwhile ventures;
THINK outside the box while operating in the box; and
YEARN to be the best in your area of calling.

“Be ready in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4.2)