Mark 14:46 – Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
Gratitude Day 732
The last 48 hours, I have been thinking to myself, “It’s not the worse thing that could happen.”
And this is true. So very, very true.
I work part-time for a small agricultural company. Three times a year, we receive new information about what we sell. The goal is to organize a large amount of information quickly and accurately and provide it to customers and sales reps around the world in as short of time as possible. During the weeks we receive this information, it’s always crazy busy.
This last week was one of those weeks. Normally, we receive the information on Tuesday and spend the rest of the week making it available to others. While I have been involved in preparing this information for years (this is the type of work I did before becoming a pastor), it remains daunting to get everything done well and accurately. Any little holdup with the information affects everything. The information includes literally thousands and thousands of numbers. One wrong digit changes so much. We proof and proof and proof until our eyes get tired of numbers, making sure the information is accurate.
I knew going into Tuesday that some of the files we receive would be arriving later than normal. One company providing the files had recently gone through a conversion process and we knew there could be challenges with this. What I didn’t expect is that three of our work computers would have problems with the files.
Then, later in the week, we found out that another large file we receive had errors. In fact, the errors were significant enough that it was determined that the files will be re-calculated and new files re-released next week. Basically, we will go through the same process two weeks in a row, making sure the numbers are correct.
The industry that I work in is a very specific line of business. The incorrect files affects every U.S. company that does this type of work. The company I work for, as well as our competitors, do a significant amount of international business. Therefore, these incorrect files are literally affecting businesses around the world. The reality is that these wrong files are as about a big of mistake that can be made in terms of receiving the new information and making it available to people around the world.
When we realized on Thursday afternoon the impact of the error, everyone in our small office took a deep breath. We had just dedicated hours and hours of time into preparing our information, updating our website and sharing this information with people around the world. And a chunk of the information was wrong. It was out of our control and there is nothing we can do until next Tuesday when the new information would be available.
So, we told ourselves, “It’s not the worse thing that could have happened.” No, there are so many more significant and far-reaching things that could be affecting our lives right now … and are not.
We don’t have to worry if we will have food to eat tonight, water to drink or a safe place to sleep.
None of us were at a hospital that was bombed.
There is not constant worry about whether a loved one is dead or alive because they are living in a war zone.
We haven’t left home lately and taken a train to a different country with basically a backpack and not much more.
Our children or grandchildren aren’t starting a new school in a new country next week where they may not know the language and do not have any friends.
And a whole bunch of other scenarios that only make us gasp and shake our heads.
Yes, the wrong files are inconvenient. And frustrating. A bit challenging. But in the grand scheme of life, it’s certainly not the worse thing that could happen.
Our computer issues will be resolved on Monday. The files will arrive on Tuesday, after significant effort is made to ensure the right information is included. We will go through the process of gathering the information, preparing it for distribution and make sure this all happens.
The world will still spin. The sun will still come up in the east and set in the west every day; even if it is hidden behind dark clouds. It will still be Holy Week next week.
If someone knows what it is like to live through something awful, it is Jesus. On the last night of his life, he had a wonderful Passover dinner with his closest friends. During this meal, they recalled what happened to their ancestors when they were slaves in Egypt. It’s a meal they and their families have remembered and retold for hundreds of years. It’s truly a highlight of the year.
Right after the meal, Jesus and his friends go to a garden to pray. Jesus knows more challenging things lie ahead of him and he needs the strength to get through it. Jesus prays a deeply personal and heartfelt prayer while his friends slept.
Jesus knew the soldiers would be coming for him that night. They will arrest him and put him through a staged trial. And then, the worse thing that could happen would: he would hang on a cross and die.
Friends – I do not know what is going on in your life right now. Maybe you recently have struggled with something out of your control. Possibly something is overwhelming you. And right now, it may feel like the worse thing that can happen is what you are living right now. I want to honor your feelings and hold your hand and be with you.
But I also know that you will not be alone. Jesus, the one who cried out for help from the cross, will be with you. God will be with you. The Holy Spirit will be there to bring you comfort and peace.
Whatever awful thing might be going on in your life right now, please take a deep breath. Sit with your feelings. Acknowledge them. Give them space. I pray that this will not be the worse thing that can ever happen to you. The sun will come up again and I pray we will rejoice and be glad in it.
For appropriate perspective on life, I am grateful.
Holy God – when we’re in the midst of a challenging situation, it’s difficult to think beyond the “now.” Shore me up with Your love and grace so I know that I am not alone. Thank you. Amen.
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