Minor Irritations to Major Crisis

Some friends of ours from our Florida Rv resort were traveling back to their summer home with their “fiver” (rv lingo for 5th wheel trailer), when it happened. They didn’t plan on it and certainly were surprised and not just a little stressed by it. Not one, but TWO tire blowouts in one day.

That’s not a minor irritation, but it is really not a major crisis either! It’s somewhere in the “definition-of-a-bad-day” category. I felt bad for them as it happened to us last Fall. It requires quick thinking, a plan, and a probable reschedule of travel.

How do you handle minor irritations vs. major crisis?

I have fair slice of OCD pie on the menu pretty regularly. Minors can sometimes play out as majors for me, all because the regimented plan went awry. I get narrow focused and honestly quite perturbed when the routine is interrupted.

So how do you respond and react when life throws you the infamous curve ball in the face??

One of the most vivid and horrific crisis I have been made aware of in my life happened in 1994. I still ponder it often. Most usually when I am faced with what I perceive as a bad day.

A mini-van loaded with a family of 8 was traveling for Thanksgiving from Chicago to Milwaukee. Routine holiday trip on a well-traveled interstate. But the unimaginable happened.

The steel bracket from a 18 wheeler mud flap had fallen onto the highway and the van carrying Pastor Duane “Scott” Willis, his wife and six of their nine children; ran over the bracket and it punctured their half empty gas tank. It exploded and the van was immediately engulfed with flames. Pastor Scott and his wife got out only to watch five of their six children perish in the van on the side of the highway. The sixth died later in the hospital from severe burns. How do you come back from that?

A few years later, I met Pastor and Mrs Willis at Moody Pastor’s Conference in Chicago. They stood on a podium that night and described this horrific life altering moment in time. They still wept. Long pauses to compose. They were asked how they managed that moment?

I’ll never forget their words. They slumped to the ground and held each other and knew in that moment that Jesus was with them. they had committed long ago in their marriage and family and ministry to always take the long view, not the short one.

The short view was agony and utter despair. The long view was their hope in Christ!

1 Thessalonians 4:13, “We do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”

Pastor Willis alluded that though the short view-our immediate in the moment experience-can be devastating and life changing, hearts that can give it to the Lord and look to hope in Christ Jesus- have everything they need to keep moving on in this life. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I wish I could tell you that this story has forever changed my responses to minor and major challenges. It hasn’t revolutionized stress management for me. But I have learned to take my “bad days” and lay them at the foot of the cross…eventually…when I’ve finished sulking.

Living life “present and in the moment” means we feel and see things as they are. The good alongside the awful. The blessings viewed and experienced in full color as well as the distresses. That’s living!

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