Worst-case Scenarios

Hope is not believing that everything will work out in the end.  That is wishful thinking.  Things do not always work out well.  It’s false advertising to insist that someone in deep suffering should just perk up because God is going to work everything out.  


According to whose expectations?  That’s the rub.  And that is why we cannot say that all things work out in the end.  I know, you want me to consider the passage that says - We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.  

~ Romans 8:28 CEB


But that presumes the conditions mentioned in the quote!  And just because things work together for good does not mean it will work out alright for the every individual.  What we know is that God is alive and well and at work among us.  And that his work is good.  But that doesn’t mean that every situation will be a big win for each of us.


When faced with calamity, we have choices. Some good; others problematic.  Let’s consider some options:


1.  We can ignore the problem and hope it resolves itself.  This works sometimes, but it is a risky gamble.  I once worked in an office where one of the employees would jam the printer and then skulk away without fixing the problem.  People of course caught on.  Soon various office mates were swiping the print cartridge and leaving clues for the rest of the team to find it - but the evil doer was never let in on the secret.  He wasted untold hours waiting for the machine to magically become operational.  No lessons were ever learned about copy machine etiquette that I can recall.
2. We can acknowledge the problem, face it head on, and figure out what to do next.  We approach the problem as often as needed and try a variety of strategies.  We look at problems as an experiment that needs resolving, not an impossibility that we need to fight, flee or freeze over.
3. We can blame others for the problem.  This might make us feel momentarily better but it also makes it harder for us to resolve the issue because everyone is so busy defending their honor that they allow the problem to flourish.


There are a host of other options - but which of these sounds like it most fits the skills associated with resiliency?  Obvious, right?  Option 2.  What problem do you need to face head on but are delaying making a move?  What is blocking you?  What support might you need to ask for?

Take your ordinary life...

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.
Romans 12:1 The Message


The sacred is made real in the mundane.  I do not have to be a Super Hero of the faith; I do not have to go to some far off land as a missionary or spend all my time at church in order to be a faithful person.  


So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you (this is a sacred dance, there is stuff I am to do but it is with the awareness that God is always helping me do it).  Your sleeping, eating (good self-care), going-to-work (not some special kind of work in some mystical quest for spiritual significance whatever the work I am doing is the work I am doing), walk-around life (no compartmentalizing - I am not one person at church, another in the stands at my kids’ ball games).  Place it before God as an offering (just living life is an offering).

 

You’ll be changed from the inside out. (There will be some internal shifting that may precede my ability to express this in my daily living.  Patience!)

 

Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (I need to understand how God wants me to be in the world so that I can respond accordingly but most important I need to understand that God is my biggest advocate, my greatest supporter, he’s crazy about me and wants to support my maturation.  He’s in this out of love for me, not in an attempt to get something from me.)

 

In the next few days we will talk about the ways that healthy families validate, support and nurture one another.  But what helped me the most was first seeing how God went first and did these very things for us long before I was aware of his presence and provision.