Runaway

Why do bad things happen?  I don’t think there is a logical answer to that because in the midst of a crisis, very few think logically.  When something strikes, emotions kick in to fuel a reaction.  For example, imagine you’re walking through a crowded park.  There’s people riding bikes, some boys playing catch with their dad, and a group of college kids playing flag football.  After watching football for a while, you turn around to continue your walk.  Seconds later, you hear someone yell, “Heads up!”

What do you do?

In a split second, the human mind will weigh the pros/cons of four options: cover your head, turn and look for an object flying your direction, run, or duck and prepare for impact.  You choose option one, and you cover your head, leaving the other 95% of your body exposed.  The nose of the football drills you in the leg.  You now know what a “dead leg” feels like.

What do you do?

In both cases, your reaction is probably based on emotion rather than logic.  In the first case, you react based on fear of the unknown.  You assume that there is something dangerous headed your direction, but you have no idea how fast that object is traveling.  You also assume is it a football, but it could be a rogue cyclist with broken brakes.

In the second case, you react out of pain.  When someone or something hurts us, our first response usually is not to investigate the eternal significance of the situation.  There’s no explanation for why the football hit you.  All you can grasp is the reality that your leg hurts.

Pete Wilson’s book, Plan B, is about situations similar to this.  No, not getting pelted by a football in the park.  Instead, he poses the question, “What do you do when God doesn’t show up the way you thought He would?”  It forced me to reflect on how I react when things don’t go according to my plans.  When things are peachy, life is good.  Look what I have done.  When life hits the toilet, it’s not my fault.  How could God do this to me?  If this sounds familiar, read this book.  I don’t want to talk it up too much, but it will change your life.

In Acts 7, we read the story of Stephen, the first Christ-follower to be murdered for preaching the message of Jesus as the Messiah.  Not necessarily a happy beginning to the Church.  “That’s not what I signed up for,” is probably a pretty popular reaction to this ordeal.

What do you do?

The story continues in Acts 8, where “on that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1).  Great!  It’s only been 4 pages, and the Church is already falling apart.  Murders.  Persecution.  Imprisonment.  Runaway.  I probably would have reacted the same way.  When your life is in jeopardy, emotion tells you to run.  The new Christians are still emotional.  The apostles react differently.

The apostles think logically.  Notice, “…all except the apostles were scattered.”  Why do they stay?  What tells them to stay?  Do they understand the significance of the situation?  Emotion triggers a “runaway” mentality in the new believers.  After all the apostles had been through in the prior months, logic tells them there is more to this.  God is at work.  Just wait.  See what happens next.  In Plan B, Wilson writes, “When you respond in your current circumstances as if you were confident that God is there, you will see God in the circumstances.  Maybe not immediately, but eventually” (Page 68).

When life hangs in the balance, how many people wait to see what happens?  When your faith is challenged, when bad things occur, when it doesn’t go your way, will you wait to see what happens?

What do you do?

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