Wednesday, June 01, 2005

It Could Be Worse

I was talking to someone who was feeling down and I said "It could be worse". To which he had a great reply... Yeah, it could, but people always say that I don't see how it helps.

Got me thinking about why it is we do say that. What I came up in 10 seconds or less was:

"It helps because it forces us to remember those in the world who live that "could be worse" part of our lives. So we have no right to be down when others suffer so much more. Instead we should be looking at others and helping them work through the same troubles we experience."

That of course led to a few other questions and clarification. I had originally said that through helping others it makes us feel better. I'm not sure that's exactly true. We might feel better helping someone else, but we might just as well feel more stressed from giving up even more of our previous little free time.

But God doesn't give us the stuff to do that we enjoy. Okay, okay, he gives us some stuff which we enjoy (beautiful spring days, sunrises, wives, dogs and babies). Anyway, there's a common misunderstanding by those learning about Christianity or new to the faith that if God is leading us our lives will be good and enjoyable. Unfortunately that's not true, sometimes the best work we do for Him is miserable hard work (trust me, I'm going to a mission trip to do God's work, but will be miserable sleeping on the floor and doing lots of manual labor).

What this brings me back to is "it could be worse". I've been very down in my life. At one point my brother was put in a mental hospital to work through some issues, and I took it really, really hard. On top of it I felt like my parents were giving my brother all their attention and resources to help him, while I got left on the side a bit. But the "it could be worse" came up recently when a friend had their child put into a mental hospital to help them work through some issues. I was able to share my own experiences but I can't imagine what it will be like if the same is true for Rachel. How did my parents make the incredibly hard decisions they had to make regarding us?

"It could be worse" also gives us a reminder on how to look at the world. It's a selfish feeling, but it reminds us to look at the world and how lucky we are to have what we have. I have friends and a close family plus very strong church relationships. I may have some very, very hard times ahead, but I can get through them knowing I have this support group from God.

So the next time you hear someone tell you "it could be worse" don't dismiss it. Give it some thought. Look at the world, what is God challenging you to do to help others? What is He trying to tell you about how wonderful your life is?

Peace.

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