Last week I was glad to hear that my blog encouraged some conversations about real life and suffering.
Disability, sickness, bankruptcy, mental illness, burnout and divorce are all situations which can sometimes seek to isolate and disorient people. Many of us are afraid to talk openly about these things at all, even in a “preventative” sense.
However, I think that if we can settle the “worst case” scenarios of life, then we can move on to living life confidently and to the full.
Consider the fact that every lifesaving organisation in the world practices for worst case scenarios. The helicopter rescue service, surf lifesaving, fire brigade, paramedics, air force, and the army all do it. I don’t think they ever hope that they will have to use the skills they practice, but they are ready if or when needed.
In the same way, wise people, businesses and organisations can prepare for uncomfortable scenarios, whether to prevent them or get through them, in the midst of difficulties they face.
It is possible to tackle real issues head on, without compromising hope and belief that the situations we prepare for will not eventuate. Preparing for the worst case is separate and distinct from wishing it to occur or causing it to happen.
As a dad, when my kids were approaching their teenage years, I could have pretended that they would never get asked to compromise their values, but instead I talked about the possibility with them and asked them what they would say in scenarios if they happened.
We practiced for the worst case. They were ready to say “no” before the tough questions arrived. Preparation gave them (and me!) confidence and courage.
With my kids, as in life, if I prepare for the worst case and it never happens, I have lost nothing. If I don’t prepare and it does happen, I could lose everything.
Whilst we can’t prepare for everything, when it is in our power to prepare those around us for the worst case, then why wouldn’t we?
Think about your own home. I am sure you don’t hope it burns down, yet you install smoke alarms. I am sure you don’t hope it floods, yet you insure against flood damage. Real life requires real precautions and real preparations.
In my life, I face the challenge of what is classified as a terminal illness. If I don’t talk about disability, death and separation from my loved ones as one example of a worst case, I not only fail to prepare myself but I fail to prepare them. Have honest conversations that prepare the ones you love for life.
Check out the attitude of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in the Bible. These guys were facing serious persecution for their faith and are about to get thrown into a blazing fire by King Nebuchadnezzar.
In Daniel 3:17-18, they boldly declare, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods...”
They were confident that regardless of the outcome – best case or worst case, nothing would cause them to deny or stop trusting in God. They had settled the issue of “worst case” in their heart and were able to live freely in that.
I hope you can do the same.