When things go wrong

Do you ever wonder why things turn out the way they do? I mean, is God really orchestrating every butterfly wing that flaps in Southeast Asia? Balancing all the details regarding our recent home building has been a challenge. So many things turned out differently than we desired or planned.

I think some of this is to be expected.  I was so surprised when our closing in Orlando went as it did with no glitches.  I was surprised because I think glitches like this are to be expected when people, processes, systems, sin, and Satan are involved. Any of these can be expected to fail at times. 

People make mistakes, forget, or simply fail to fulfill their responsibilities.  So whenever people are involved, things can go wrong. People make bad choices; they pursue pleasure over persistence or simply make mistakes.  People screw everything up.  As with our new home, the insurance agent got us a quote for insurance but didn’t file the paperwork. So the week before closing, when she did this, it turned out we needed inspections and corrections, which caused a literal last 5-minute push to get everything done.

Sometimes processes aren’t designed to handle all contingencies.  Tires go flat, glass breaks, trucks break down, people get sick, and accidents happen which many processes are not designed to accommodate.  So when some unexpected contingency occurs, and the process doesn’t allow for this, everything comes to a halt or at least delayed. 

Systems are similar to processes but are actually a subpart of processes.  They are the standard ways of doing things that are designed to keep an individual from having to think or decide. These systems are intended to speed up the process because they happen automatically.  “This is simply the way we do it…” is the common response for a system that isn’t designed to accommodate a unique situation that doesn’t fit the parameters for which the system was designed.  Like our case, the insurance company has a standard policy for an inspection knowing that a lot of builders simply cut corners and they don’t want to insure someone else’s mistakes.  I don’t blame them, but we built with a national builder with a national reputation of high standards of their own.  This is where the End of Average, by Todd Rose, comes into play…most systems are set up for the average and not for the exceptions.  Systems bug me for this reason.  I know they are necessary, but they should never preclude the possibility of exceptions.

We live in a broken world. Starting at the beginning of the Garden, the presence of sin in our world causes things not to work as God originally intended.  We live in a beautiful and marvelous world.  But also one that is groaning under the pains of childbirth, according to Romans 8.22-25.  The sin in our world also impacts how we live and what we do with our lives, as this passage tells us.  We have a hope in this world that this is not a result of everything working out well.  Our world will never work right, and everything will not go as planned until the end of this age, whenever and however that is manifested.  Things like hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, drunk drivers, greedy businesspeople, maniacal dictators and politicians will impact us in a world “that groans,” as Paul says.  Sin is pervasive in our world and in people around us and we all experience consequences of such at times.

Lastly, there is a personification of evil in our world identified in scripture as Satan.  We are told he prowls around looking for ways to cause problems in the lives of Christians.  We are told he causes suffering in the lives of those who seek to follow Christ (1 Peter 5.8-9). This last cause of suffering cannot be denied but should not be assumed in all cases, as I wrote about several weeks ago.

The challenge is that when problems occur, we simply don’t know the origin of problems.  Many people spend too much time trying to ascribe blame to one cause or another.  We are to be people of hope in the midst of pain, suffering, and even minor glitches.  Because we know that enduring these times does produce qualities of endurance and character.  There are many scriptures illustrating this truth, for example, Romans 5.3-5, 2 Corinthians 1.3-7, James 1,2-5, and 1 Peter 4.12-19, to name a few.

This is why we are to weep with those who weep, show compassion, kindness, mercy, and love to those experiencing pain, and ultimately stand with them. Times of challenges may not be enjoyable, but they can be profitable if we seek to use them to grow us up from the inside in the midst of struggles on the outside.






2 responses to “When things go wrong”

  1. Scott Evans Avatar
    Scott Evans

    God bless you my friend for your hard lessons of patience . I’m learning from you ; keep it coming !

  2. Mike Moschos Avatar
    Mike Moschos

    At least you did not spill any coffee on the calculator.

    “Times of challenges may not be enjoyable, but they can be profitable if we seek to use them to grow us up from the inside in the midst of struggles on the outside.”

    This is true and we must recognize/accept it. Just like playing tournament chess on the outside, just learn to be humble (instead of being nasty/grumpy) because you are going lose more and often. Learn from the mistakes you made and hopefully it will be a benefit the next time. Teach others.

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