Unexpected Endings and New Opportunities
We spent this past New Year’s Eve in a Peruvian emergency room with our youngest daughter. It’s not where we had planned to be.
We were supposed to be an hour and a half south of Lima with a group of relatives and friends camping on an open beach and greeting the new year while launching fireworks over the Pacific Ocean. It was a family trip we had been planning for well over a month. Everything from Christmas gifts to family time revolved around getting ready for this trip.
Needless to say, I was so bummed to be standing on sterilized linoleum rather then on the warm sand we had been enjoying earlier that day. All the work, the planning, and the investment made the moments after we left the hospital knowing our daughter would be okay very, very heavy ones. The unique opportunity was completely missed and our goal to make a positive, lasting family memory was unfortunately thwarted. We were left with a list of medications to buy, instead of a camera full of snapshots to enjoy.
Things don’t always go as planned. And when the plans are big and the desired outcomes noble, the investment of time and finances significant, and the opportunities unique, the failed plans can deal us a heavy blow.
If we’re not careful at times like these, we can develop a “why even bother” attitude, instead of simply deciding to try again. In ministry, this kind of attitude is lethal. It sedates our desire to take risks and dulls our reflex to move on as new opportunities arise.
However, if after we have experienced an epic failure of our plans we choose to stand back up, dust off our knees, get our chin back up to where it should be, and try again, we’ll be testifying of our faith and trust in a good God who is full of more good plans.
And it’s important to point out that by trying again, I’m not suggesting recreating the opportunity or executing the very same plans all over again. By trying again, I simply mean to foster an attitude that never surrenders to failure.
When the bottom falls out, when the walls cave in, when everything has been lost and the opportunity has passed us by, it’s time to brush it off, get back up, hang on to lessons learned, and focus on a new goal. God has an outreached hand and is ready when we are.
Psalm 18:28-29 (NLT)
You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.