I think we all have those times when it seems that if it weren’t for bad luck, we wouldn’t have any luck at all – and no luck seems preferable! Sometimes, you can’t win. It rains aggravations. People aren’t at their best, and they certainly aren’t trying to win you as a friend or influence you in any good way. The world goes crazy, and you can think of reams of reasons to become a hermit, as Jana Lanning did in this tale. Unfortunately, withdrawing led to depression, which caused an already tough situation to become worse as the people around her took advantage of her perceived weakness to protect themselves in a larger situation that threatened them all. I won’t give away the plot, of course, because I’d rather that you read the book, but I think it’s worth reflecting on what the right reaction is to when things go wrong.
It’s tempting to give up. If you can’t win, why try? Then there’s the flip side of giving in to anger. If they’re going to hurt you, hurt them back. I have to admit that I’m more the externalizing type. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when I’d stick those knives right back in their backs if it would make an effective point (pun intended). The problem is, it wouldn’t. And neither would giving up.
The good news is that right reaction is simple. It isn’t easy, but it’s simple. When people and situations are at their worst, you rise above it by being your best. Be stable and do what’s right. Rise above the wrong, be the better person, and if there are areas where you’re weak then fix those chinks in your armor and get strong. You’ll get resistance, of course, because the ultimate insult is for a person to rise despite situations that put them down. It’s downright insulting, and they'll try to squash you. Rise anyway. Keep doing it. Don't give up. Part of being a better person is being stable in character, and stability means that you stand firm and don’t waver no matter what winds and waves of the world buffet you. Don’t let them break you – you get stronger and break them. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes tremendous strength. But it’s something that nobody or no thing can take away from you, especially if you’re firmly rooted in the faith to sustain you through these times.
I think one of the best prayers I ever heard was in Stephen King’s The Stand. As Mother Abigail watched the masses gathering to her in the wake of the flu that killed off most of the population, she simply prayed: “Help us to be true, Lord. Help us to stand.”
So don’t just sit there. Rise.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great week.