Ron Hamilton was living the dream. After college, he married his sweetheart and began his career in the music industry. Then came the crisis. At age 28, Hamilton’s doctors discovered cancer in his eye. He had to lose that eye to save his life.

How would you handle a crisis so severe? You might find the answer by looking to your past to see how you survived previous difficulties, and what you can learn from them. Some people not only survive but thrive as they tread beyond the slough of despond. It is a profound spiritual journey to embrace meaning in tragedy. That can be your journey.

The Bible portrays such a response in Joseph. He was thrown into a cistern then sold into slavery by his brothers. His captors trafficked him to Egypt where he was imprisoned on a false accusation. A friendly fellow prisoner failed to keep his promise to appeal to Pharoah on Joseph’s behalf. Joseph finally found the favor of Pharoah by interpreting a dream. After Joseph rescued the country from famine, he told his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Gen. 50:20). He had embraced his circumstances and trusted God to walk him through his valley of humiliation.

Apostle Paul summarized his crisis in Asia. “We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life.” But in it he found meaning.  It was “so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2 Cor. 1:8-9). He also had a physical ailment, his “thorn in the flesh.” Even in that, he boasted about his weaknesses. “My grace is sufficient for you,” the Lord said to him, “for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). The most basic component of a resilient life is to trust God, who has a timeless perspective. He sees your weakness and raises you with His grace. He is the Shepherd and Guardian of your soul (1 Pet. 2:25).

Ron Hamilton lived a resilient life despite his loss. When his eye patch prompted playful children to call him a pirate, he embraced piracy. He became “Patch the Pirate,” and wrote songs and audio stories to engage and instruct children. He served the discerning as well. His song “Rejoice in the Lord” puts his own loss in perspective. “I could not see through the shadows ahead; so I looked at the cross of my Savior instead. I bowed to the will of the Master that day; then peace came and tears fled away.” Hamilton lived the dream until his days as “Patch” were done. In 2023, he left the land of the dying for the land of the living.  He was 72.