Today we will begin with the story, “The Window”, by G. W. Target, as it is recorded in Chuck Swindoll’s book, Laugh Again.
This story tells of two men, both seriously ill, who occupied the same small hospital room.
One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all of his time flat on his back.
The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives, their families, their homes, their jobs, where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all of the things that he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all of the activity and the color of that outside world.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake, the man said. Ducks and swans played on the water and children sailed their model boats. Lovers walked arm in arm amid flowers of every color. Grand old trees graced the landscape. A fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all of this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene. One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band, he could see it in his mind’s eye.
Unexpectedly, an alien thought entered his head. “Why should HE have all the pleasure of seeing everything, while I never get to see anything. It just isn’t fair!”
As the thought fermented, the man felt ashamed at first. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment. HE should be by that window. That thought now controlled his life.
Late one night, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help.
Listening from across the room, he never moved. He never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse running. In less than five minutes, the coughing and choking stopped, along with the sound of the breathing. Now there was deathly silence.
The following morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened, and called the hospital attendants to take it away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all for himself. He strained to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a barren vacant lot. Looking on it as it was, he had seen it as it could be.
The way that we look at life is a matter of choice. It is determined by the set of our minds.
“As he thinketh in his heart, so is he . . .”
G. Campbell Morgan points out that the book of Philippians reveals to us the mind of the Christian. We have already looked into the mind of Paul, as we have studied the salutation and the benediction that we found at the beginning of this letter, and then as we studied the prayer found in verses 9-11.
Read Philippians 1:12-18 and consider Paul’s circumstances and how he mentally responded to them. Contemplate your own circumstances. How do you think about them? Be honest with yourself. In these verses we will find a pattern for every Christian who would choose to live within the will of God. We will take up at this point in the next Philippians blog post.