There is a vast difference between happiness and blessedness. Paul had imprisonments, tadalafil pains, sacrifice, and suffering up to the very limit but in the midst of it all, he was blessed. I am sure all of the beatitudes mentioned in Scripture came into his heart and life during these various trials and challenges in ministry. Beatitudes like blessed are the pour in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted, and blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness are just a few. Niccolo Paganini, one of the greatest violinists of the 1900’s, came out one evening to perform. As he was being introduced to great applause, he looked down at his violin and saw that something was very wrong. To his surprise the violin he was holding was not the famous and valuable one he had often used in similar concerts. Niccolo felt paralyzed for a moment, not knowing what to do. Anxiously he turned to his audience and told them there had been some mistake for he did have his own violin. He stepped back behind the curtain thinking that it was still where he had left it, but discovered it had been stolen. Only the old second-hand violin resting on his arm was left behind. Contemplating what to do, he stepped forth on stage once again and said to his audience, “Ladies and gentlemen, I will show you tonight that music is not so much in the instrument, but in the soul.” So he began playing on the old second-hand violin, and played like never before. The music he brought forth was so moving that the audience erupted at the end of his performance with incredible appreciation, applause, and ovation. Their hearts had been stirred, but not by an instrument, but by Niccolo’s resolve to do the best he could no matter what. In the mission and purpose God has given you to fulfill while on earth, do as Niccolo did; do the best you can with whatever circumstances come your way. For what makes a great Christian is not having the perfect instrument to do God’s work, just the heart and resolve to do it with whatever instrument you have been given. Sometimes it’s best to be blessed by God by overcoming difficult circumstances, then to gain happiness because everything is perfect and goes your way. Footnote: Parts of this devotional were taken from Streams in the Desert, September 28th.