Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Sense of Perspective in Difficult Times

Many of my conversations in recent days have been with individuals who are facing discouragement in the face of a very tough economic climate and a daunting job market. Very talented women and men are finding – often for the first time in lives filled with strings of spectacular successes – that the world is no longer beating a pathway to their doors. This reality can be very disconcerting and often leads to a season of deep reflection and self-evaluation. Without a solid emotional and spiritual foundation under-girding that process of reflection, the result can too often be depression and despair.

I am not immune from discouraging moments of my own. I learned recently from a loyal client that some searches that he had been hoping to award to White Rhino Partners to fill vacancies in his organization would not be forthcoming because of the changed economic conditions. That change in fortunes has caused me to do some recalculation about business development trajectories and priorities.

I recall a recent phone conversation with a very gifted friend of mine. She was awaiting a crucial decision that would impact the next few years of her life. She was finding it very difficult to be graciously patient while awaiting that decision. We laughed together on the phone when I said to her: “I know you well enough to know that when you are praying about this situation, the prayer sounds something like this, ‘God, please grant me patience, and grant it to me RIGHT NOW!!!’

So, it was timely – for me and for my long suffering friends – when I opened my e-mail this morning and found a note from my friend, Alex Harris, one of the six Harris brothers who make up the acclaimed Gospel music group, A7. Alex offered a link to a meditation that had been written by his brother, Norman Harris. The meditation lifted my spirits, and I felt it was worth sharing with the readers of The White Rhino Report – even if you do not consider yourself particularly “religious.”

With thanks to Alex and Norman Harris, I share this message of hope and perspective:

With advanced technologies, modern American culture conditions us to expect instant solutions. With the invention of microwave ovens, we now have instant grits, instant oatmeal, instant eggs, instant dinners, and the list goes on. With the dominance of Internet, not only can we e-mail and communicate messages in a matter of seconds, but with instant messaging we can also engage instant conversations with each other online and even see each other via web cam as we online chat. When we take pictures, we are no longer required to wait a few days for photo development. Now with digital camera, picture development is made instantly available. We are living in an instant culture and are often caught off guard when life places us in situations that force us to have patience.

God has ordained destiny over our lives, but sometimes to reach our divine destinations God allows the particulars of life to place us in situations where there are no instant answers, where there are no instant solutions. We must be re-conditioned to hold on to what we know God has ordained for us and not be subdued by the pressure of struggles that we experience during the process between where we are and where we are going:

We must hold on when doors are shut in our face;

We must hold on when finances are distressed;

We must hold on when others do not believe in us;

We must hold on when we experience rejection;

We must hold on when it seems we have failed at something that is important to us;

We must hold on when evils confront us and try to break our spirits;

We must hold on when darkness comes in our lives and seems to be darker than a thousand mid-nights.

Isaiah 40:31 contemplates times when struggle will come and push us to our limits, especially when we can not find an instant solution or a quick fix. However, the scripture suggests that even in those times of struggle if we challenge ourselves to wait on the Lord, the Lord will refresh us with strength beyond our own abilities. Things that once challenged us would then become a fading memory as we walk in the victory of God’s strength and power in our lives. I encourage us to wait on God and allow God to use struggle to bring us into our destiny.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Inspirational Food For Thought from Norman Harris, M. Div., JD.

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1 comment:

John Griffith said...

Thanks for sharing, Al. That is really encouraging. I recognize that phrase "Darker than a thousand midnights" from a MLK Jr. speech, but I wonder whether it can be found in scripture as many of his images were...?