A twist in the tail…
Exodus 7: 8-13 (NRSVA)
8 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 ‘When Pharaoh says to you, “Perform a wonder”, then you shall say to Aaron, “Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, and it will become a snake.”’ 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did as the Lord had commanded; Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same by their secret arts. 12 Each one threw down his staff, and they became snakes; but Aaron’s staff swallowed up theirs. 13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
Sometimes something really bad happens when you’re not ready, when you’re not expecting it.
It’s not how we deal with success that defines us but how we deal with things when they go fundamentally wrong.
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time a young Dr J was head hunted for a very important job, it was well paid, it involved staying in some nice hotels, travelling to different countries and, latterly, even a trip to Buckingham Palace. The band were doing great, with some excellent press and Virgin was going to release one of the singles. Young Dr J was very much riding high. What was less well known was the immensely high stress and day to day danger of said very important job and, after becoming really quite unwell, young Dr J — world at his feet (from the outside) felt enough was really enough.
He left the important job and got a different job and — at a stroke — cut the money going into the household by 2/3rds. Needless to say young Mrs J (who had to feed the kids — all under 5 -— and pay the bills) was somewhat alarmed at these events. All was not well. To say the least. All the cool things stopped and so, almost did he. This was a time of immense stress for young Mrs J and young Dr J. Nothing seemed to pan out, and, professionally, financially they were looking at selling houses, cars, pretty much everything but guitars. OK let’s be honest, even the guitars were fair game. Young Dr J felt he had kind of messed life up for himself and his family.
Had it not been for this change however, young Dr J would not have met some truly beautiful and caring partners and patients that allowed him to personally heal and then to grow and thrive in a completely different direction than he had followed before. One that was, deeper, truer, more exciting, more rewarding than all of the things he would formally have thought of as markers of success.
It was the worst time for a while there. Touch and go in ways this wee story hasn’t touched on. Just because you get in a pickle through your own hand doesn’t mean you’re not in a pickle.
But sometimes these really bad moments make us and heal us. Sometimes, in fact, the direction we thought we were headed — the story we told ourselves, turns out to be the wrong story, the easy story, where nothing changed and we stayed as we were.
When you’re there, perhaps with more serious and bitter news or a situation remember God loves you, God knows you and what appears to be one situation is — in fact and in time — something quite different and perhaps even quite wonderful.
Lord, let’s not forget the times I struggle. With big trauma or little trauma.
Everyone else might see plain sailing but there’s a hole in the boat
Guide me to safe shores
Put your hand on the tiller when mine cramps up with steering and remind me you were there all along
It's really tough to be tough
And it doesn’t need to be
You catch me when I fall
Thank you for walking with me, for clearing the way ahead, helping me move on from the past and taking my burdens in your strong arms