Saturday, April 25, 2015

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

“Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. – Genesis 41:33
It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong. – Thomas Sowell
Someone once suggested that the hardest decisions are not ones where we must decide between good and bad, or right and wrong. Instead it’s when we must choose between two goods or two rights. Maybe!

When I was in my teens an older man told me that big decisions tend to take care of themselves. It’s the smaller ones that are harder. Lots of truth there.

It seems to me that both these ideas are rather on the positive side of things. There is at least the suggestion that life will be filled with a whole lot of goods and rights to choose from, or that faced with some big choices, I shouldn’t worry because the big things will pretty much take care of themselves. I’ll just have to deal with some small stuff.

I find the worst times, the hardest decisions, the toughest circumstances, and the most painful consequences are all found in that wonderfully awful spot located “between a rock and a hard place.”

On the one hand, things look bleak. On the other hand, things look not so good. When I’m between a rock and hard place my choices often seem to be between two bads or wrongs, and regardless of the “size” of the decision I must make, nothing will take care of itself. I have to choose, and there is no good choice, and when it’s all done, I’ll have to bear the consequences.

If you’ve not been in that detestable spot before, I applaud you, but I fear it’s just a matter of time. I’m not a pessimist, but I am a realist, and the truth is that your turn will come. I hope you’re prepared for it.

It would be so nice if life presented us with nothing but clear choices. Years ago, a man who was the President of a local bank came to see me. The economy wasn’t good and he was looking at some choices. He could stay where he was and ride out the hard times. He could move to a bigger bank in a larger city, but he would be a small fish in a big tank there. He’d thought about funding a small business for his wife that might turn an easy profit and help out the family. The reason he came to see me was he wanted to know which one to choose so that he would “be doing the Lord’s will.”

We talked about the situation and I told him I was afraid I couldn’t help; not because God had no will for his life, but because I thought he had the wrong idea about God’s will. His thought was that one, and only one, of the possibilities he had considered was God’s will. In his mind he had to choose the one, and only one, to please the Lord.

I reminded him of the TV show, “Let’s Make A Deal” where contestants tried to make deals that brought them good prizes and not white elephants. I told him that occasionally, behind all three of the curtains on the stage were pretty decent prizes. All you had to do was pick one and go with it.

I suggested that he just decide on one of his potential solutions, and then be God’s man in whichever one he chose. He left, not totally happy with our talk.

The next Sunday, I saw him at church, and he had this huge smile. I asked him if he’d made a decision. He said, “I have, but I got to thinking about those curtains with prizes behind them, and I got to thinking that this is really my game, so I picked two curtains! I’m going to stay with the bank, but I’m also going to put my wife in business.” That move turned out well for him.

I tell you this because we often think we’re between a rock and a hard place. If that happens, trust God, and do your best. Be God’s man or woman whatever you choose.