A few years ago some friends asked us to go water skiing with them at a nearby lake. Having practically grown up on water skies in Florida, I was interested in seeing how well I could ski after being off of them for over 10 years. The day came and I found myself in the water behind the boat with a slalom ski, holding on to a ski rope and telling my friend to give it the throttle. As I was coming out of the water, I thought that my balance was pretty good, until I decided to try one of my old stunts. Well, it was all downhill from there, or better put, it was down in the water from there. I had pulled and slightly torn my left leg hamstring muscle, something I had seen people do but never realized how painful it could be. Well, after my fall in the water I found out. The pain was excruciating. Eventually, it took two people in the boat to pull me out of the water and later help me to our car. The hamstring muscle is one of the biggest muscles in our body and when it is injured, it nearly paralyzes you. Through this temporary ordeal, I now certainly feel more empathy for people who live with paralysis.
There is another kind of paralysis that is just as debilitating and in some ways can be worse. It is a paralysis that comes when one of life’s responsibilities, like being an employee, a spouse, or a parent, becomes so full of friction and adversity that life becomes stressful and full of worry. We feel overwhelmed and struggle to find peace and hope, and eventually we can become distraught and feel numb. It can be paralyzing! The present turbulent problems in the airline industry have had a paralyzing affect on many airline employees. They feel exasperated, disillusioned, and are numb from the bleak reports that are aired on the news almost every night. Can’t we avoid such mishaps: doesn’t the Christian faith somehow promise to protect us from having to face these difficulties? Isn’t there a verse somewhere in the Bible where God tells us that noharm will come to us?
These are just a few of the questions that people are asking these days. But one does not need to look very far in the Bible to realize that God did not promise us a flawless life with no problems. Actually most of the writers God used to write the Bible were people in the thicket of problems. Their messages were woven in the fabric of life’s adversities. In His Sermon on the Mount message, Jesus ends it with a story about two kinds of builders. We often point out that the two houses outwardly looked identical, yet it was the foundation that made the difference. But there is another profound point we should not miss. Life itself is being built in the path of storms. It is not “if,” but “when” they come. Understanding this brings us to ask a very important question: how should I be building my life on a foundation that cannot be shaken when the storms of life come?
The initial answer to this is found in two very obvious points from Jesus’ sermon. First, Jesus speaks about those who hear Him. We must never minimize the importance of hearing or learning God’s truth, for it prepares us how to respond when storms and emergencies hit us. If we do not understand God’s way of responding to adverse situations, then we will probably end up having knee-jerk reactions that are impulsive and lack any thought. I’m not implying that you should know how to master every situation. We cannot! However, we are told that God’s Word gives us all that we need for life and godliness. Assuming this to be true, God has instructed us to have faith responses because with Him we can face all situations. Just to name a few, God says that our faith should be seen as generous and not greedy. It should consider the interest of others as much as our own. When facing an adversary, our faith should take them to God in prayer instead of turning on them in revenge. These are just a few faith responses that display a proactive faith.
The second obvious point from Jesus’ message about building life on a solid foundation is making a choice to act and take steps. He said a wise person is one who hears and acts on His words (Matthew 7:24). When we face storms and emergencies, it could be detrimental to try and figure out all the reasons for it. For example, if you were in an aircraft emergency, you wouldn’t sit asking yourself, “Why is this happening to me?” or attempt to figure out how you got into this situation. Your responses at a moment like this are crucial and could mean life or death. In the same way, our spiritual life can be greatly affected by whether or not we take immediate steps. For instance, knowing to do right and not doing it could mean the difference between being freed or becoming ensnared. Taking steps to turn to God could mean the difference between taking hold of hope or becoming cynical. And ultimately, it could mean the difference between obedience to God or doubtful waywardness. I find that living out your Christian faith, especially in the workplace, requires you to be alert and ready to take steps according to God’s ways when adversity is thrown at you. What we don’t realize is that a delayed or bad response at the outset begins a process of our storing up emotional reactions inside us that are often played out in days and weeks ahead. That is why our immediate response representing our faith in Jesus Christ is imperative and prevents our being corrupted on the inside. We are to be continually preparing and choosing the Lord’s way instead of just reacting when a situation occurs. Living life in a proactive way means anticipating storms in life and learning from God’s truth how to respond in faith. This will not only reap benefits in our life, it will be a walking witness for those around us in the workplace as well.
(This article was written by Paul Curtas, General Director of FCAP)