There is a powerful television commercial about a woman who receives a call from an adoption agency who says, “we have found a baby for you, but the child is in Siberia and will need to have both legs amputated.” The adoption agency says, “it won’t be easy” and after a brief moment, the adopting mother says, “no, it will be amazing.”
The adopted child, Jessica Long grows up to be a medal winning swimmer.
Why is it that in the midst of adversity, challenge, crisis, some people are able to say, it will be amazing?
There is a thin line between merely surviving the crisis and thriving in the midst of the challenge. Jesus could look into the most troubled sinner, the most physically challenged person, the most difficult time and could see possibility, transformation and resurrection deep within the person. Jesus saw that their life could be amazing. Not only did Jesus thrive in the midst of the challenge, but he lifted others up so that they would thrive.
When we are met with a challenge or crisis, we either see problem or possibility. Over time, it becomes our nature, problem or possibility. In actuality, the challenge is neither; it is simply a challenge, but the difference is made in how we approach it. Jesus approached these challenges as possibility, and his ministry and people thrived because of his mindset.
There are several reasons why people see problem or possibility, and today I would like to lift up one, mindset and outlook. A mindset formed by God’s good gifts of faith, hope and gratitude see that with God there is possibility in everything we encounter. A life continually shaped by hope, faith and gratitude literally transforms one’s mindset and outlook on life. It is not that problems go away; it’s that our problems become God’s great possibility for our healing, growth, change, improvement and the creation of the new.
Faith, hope and gratitude are foundational for thriving in the midst of life. It creates a mindset that asks, God, what can we do together to accomplish something great for others, for the world, for the church. Those who see the challenge as a threat, revert to a survival mentality in which the instincts to protect, preserve and resist “kick in.” Those who see the challenge as possibility revert to creativity, planning, networking with others to see God’s best intention in the challenge.
Today, we live in a time of crises and challenges. The pandemic, natural disasters, war and the ending of war, racism, a culture that does not see the church as relevant and a denomination searching for its emerging identity is enough for a lifetime, and we are experiencing all of this at the same time. What is your mindset, survival or seeking the opportunities in the midst of the challenges to see what God has for us next?
It will be hard, and it will be amazing.