looking back – electricity and ego

looking back (This was first posted June 5, 2005.)

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at my desk watching a video which had been produced for our Sunday service. The lights in the hallway and my air conditioner went out, but my computer kept running. I noted the outage, patted myself on the back for my UPS, and kept watching. Soon, however, the computer went off, and I wandered out to the hall. A person who was working in the kitchen came singing down the hallway, trying to stay positive in the face of preparations for her son’s impending wedding. A call came in from one of our renters across the street, wondering why her power was out.

In each case, people assumed first that the problem was local and was part of the evidence of the world being against them. As they understood that the problem was building-wide, then neighborhood-wide, their personalization of their frustration and the desire that we “fix this for them” disappeared, replaced with a sense of resignation and relief that someone else would be working on the problem.

As I thought about our reactions, I realized how often we get frustrated because we believe that there is a plot against our particular happiness. There is an intentionality to problems which is directed at our own joy and happiness and peace and success. I consistently have to help people understand that they are not the focus of pain. Frequently, there are many sides to stories. Often, there are details which they don’t know. Always, there is a God who is aware of our lives and who desires to be part of our understanding of what is happening.

How often do we ask God to take away our anxiety? We are told to do so in Philippians 4. How often do we remember God’s promise to the exiles that He had plans for them?

Often, the circuit breaker just trips. It is the enemy of our souls who wants us to take it personally. And it is the Savior of our souls that will give us peace in the midst of the darkness.

And just like yesterday, the power may be back on in a couple minutes.

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“Looking Back” is an opportunity to republish posts which have mattered to me. They may matter to you, too.

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