What to Do When Life Throws You an Unexpected Curve Ball
I'm sure you've heard the old saying, "There's nothing certain but death and taxes." That may be true, but we can also be certain that life will throw us a curve ball at some point in our lives.
Being in law enforcement or part of a law enforcement family does not grant you any more privileges or security in life than anyone else. We all face, at times, those unexpected curve balls, but it is what we do with them that makes the difference.
Take for example, the officers in the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore. Little did any of those six individuals ever dream that this one particular call would change their lives forever; that they would spend countless hours wading through the court system - their faces plastered all over the Internet and media sites.
Or how about Darren Wilson? Did he wake up that morning knowing that an encounter with criminal, Michael Brown, would leave him without a law enforcement career...ever, a bounty on his head, and a mark on his name that will forever be in America's history?
What about the story that just hit the news yesterday about the deputy in Louisiana whose twin toddlers somehow made it out of their home and into the cab of their daddy's truck, only to get locked in without their parents' knowledge, and die of heat exposure?
What about that unplanned pregnancy; being unexpectedly served with divorce papers; the loss of a job; the car accident that left you facing multiple surgeries; or the storm which left your home a total disaster?
Life can be messy. It can throw a chink in our plans at a drop of hat. Yet, God tells us in Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
So what are we supposed to do in times of unexpected curve balls? We...
1. Pray. Prayer should always be the first thing, never the last. Prayer is our power source and our communication line with the Father. He wants us to bring our problems to Him, yet, the Bible is clear that a man (or woman) who has sin in their heart will not be heard. (John 9:31, 1 Peter 3:7b) We have to come to Him with a humble heart and holy hands. Then, He is willing to act on our behalf, taking our brokenness and turning it into something beautiful.
2. Study His Book. Though it seems ridiculous to think that one book can hold all the answers, the truth is...it does! In those times we pass through those fiery trials, God beckons us to join Him in His living and active Word. This book holds the key to life and every other problem you and I may face. We just have to be willing to pick it up, ask Him to reveal what He wants us to know, and humbly listen for His quiet direction.
3. Seek Wise Counsel. God places His servants all around us. Sometimes we don't even realize that before we utter a plea for help, He has already begun instructing another one of His children in regard to our situation. Seek out those who daily walk with Him. Have them pray on your behalf, and listen to all they have to say. Not that everything they utter will be something to adhere to, but often wise counsel lines up with God's Word and instruction. It's critical that we listen.
4. Fast if Necessary. This is a process which is often overlooked, but can be used to bring clarification. God honors those who seek Him and who put worldly enticements to the side even for a moment. When you or I can get alone with Him with limited distractions, oftentimes we can hear His direction so much more clear.
5. Be Still and Wait. The hardest one of the bunch! Sometimes in our trials, God seems distant, even silent. It is in those times that He wants us to simply be still and wait on His perfect timing. We cannot see what He is doing in all areas around us. We do not have the luxury to be able to look beyond the trial, but He does. He knows exactly how He will orchestrate each aspect of the process. Be still. Listen. Wait on His timing and don't jump ahead. Though it may be hard to not "do" something, He is teaching you patience and the value of timing. Wait.
Though we do not like to think about trials or situations that may crop up in our every day life, we have to understand that God is still in control. Jesus reminded the Pharisees in John 10:9, that He is the gate. In other words, nothing can harm us without coming through Him first.
We can take comfort knowing that even in the hardest trials, God has a plan to work it out for our good and He will not disappoint or forsake us.
Stay the course, friend. When a curve ball comes, use it to win the game!