“Fill your sphere, brother, and be content with it. If God shall move you to another, be glad to be moved; if he move you to a smaller, be as willing to go to a less prominent place as to one that is more so. Have no will about it.” (Spurgeon)
“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”
Psalms 131:1-3 NIV
What amazing changes press against our businesses! The interruption of a pandemic is something no normal business conceives. Plans are made for interruptions by fire, storm, or even a loss of market position. Yet, who would plan for a total disruption of the economic engine?
As part of my responsibilities for many years, I was involved in disaster planning. At one point, I even spoke at conferences concerning such. In the middle of the night, I’ve climbed a ladder with an open container of diesel to keep a shop running because of an ice storm. In another situation, we ran operations out of a warehouse while waiting for reconstruction due to a bombing. One hospital electrical fire put us out of commission for hours as we shifted and shuffled operations. A retail operation entered bankruptcy and all systems had to be reengineered. But never have I had to respond to an entire economy in disarray.
These moments turn me deep into territory unknown and my dependence on God’s word and Spirit are tested. What about you?
A few years ago, all of my solid foundations quaked. A successful career overturned in a flash. The Lord had prepared me and a new career birthed. The journey has been amazing and fraught with invention and innovation. Some bread crumbs have helped me maintain and move forward.
David was surely in such a moment when he wrote this Psalm. He left us a path. He must have been in one of those moments that defy logic. For years, he lived in seclusion. His faithfulness was rewarded with persecution. He served the king and the king chased him out and wanted to kill him. Another time, his son attacked. Yet, another time he and his men returned to their home city to find all their families and possessions taken by an opponent. David was acquainted with great success interrupted with great loss.
1. Stay humble. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal. When we find ourselves outside of all we have planned and believed, it is easy to get prideful and say, “Well I am better than this.” That is a dangerous position. Take the day as it is. Take the assignment of the Father to function in disaster as honorably as to function in great prosperity. Be contented in change.
2. Stay focused. Don’t get balled up in the problems. Be able to be content with a lesser income and profit position during rebuilding. Get focused on the most important items in life, which are not financial. Build family and friendships. Build relationships. Build a new world birthed of the change. Be contented in change.
3. Get quiet and calm. Concern, worry, and anxiety lead us into wrong choices and wrong voices. Many come up with instant answers and quick solutions that have not been tested under such circumstances. Dependence on old ways that worked in a different economy can get you into a position of no retreat. Get quiet. Get calm. Talk to the Lord a lot. Listen. Take secure steps and don’t rush. Be contented in change.
4. Get disciplined in faith. Faith is meant for challenging days of change. Really turn to the Lord and take the time to shore up core discipleship. Prayer, praise, serving, thanksgiving, witnessing, study, meditation, and fellowship keep us going through every situation. The Lord outlined these for disciples, followers. In the tough spot do a spot check. Where are you in each area? Strengthen the weak spots. Good counsel is to play to your strengths, cover your weaknesses, and develop your disciplines. Disciplines of faith hold you in place and move you forward when all else is crashing. Be contented in change.
Your world might be upside down and standing on the secure is needed. My home has been turned into a training center for both my wife and me. Workshops for struggling families and tumultuous teens sometimes are ongoing one upstairs and one down. She has mastered new skills and this week taught 8 workshops for teens online with tools she had never seen up until two weeks ago. I coach her in these modes and modify adult workshops to be online interactive with live sessions. Nothing is normal. Not one hour of one day is the same. Except.
Except my early morning disciplines are the same and more. I spend more time on the disciplines of prayer and study and meditation and serving and thanksgiving and witnessing and fellowship and praise. Depend on what works in any waters.
The challenge of change is to not go back to the way you were. If we go back to where we were we come back to where we are. I say that phrase over and over to struggling men and women. Everyone is struggling right now. The ground is level. Go forward in faith.
By faith, we prevail. The Lord is not surprised. This is not the end of progress. Through these pains we become stronger men and women. We learn lessons that prosper us and our children and our children’s children. A few notes scribble in a Psalm by David, who surely walked through greater challenges, serve us well. You can do this. The Lord is on your side.
The Think Doctor, Phil