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Feb 13

Separating Problems from Disaster

Posted by: Steve Marr

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The other day I drove to an appointment to visit a client and the traffic backed up for several miles on my route. When the slowdown first occurred, I blamed it on Christmas shopping traffic and I allowed extra time. However, it turned out that a traffic light was out on a major intersection, and there was not a policeman to direct traffic. This created a three mile traffic snarl that made me 15 minutes late for an appointment. I have a rule that I’m never late for client appointments. I started to view my tardiness as a disaster, especially since I was meeting a client for the first time. However, after I thought about it; I started putting the situation in true focus. This was not a disaster; it was simply a minor problem or annoyance.


Our perspective matters.  It is critical to know how to separate circumstances between annoyances and life changing disasters.

When I was in high school we lived in an older house constructed in 1920. We experienced an electrical fire in the attic that resulted in a three-alarm fire. The fire burned through the roof. With the fire, smoke and water damage, the house was nearly destroyed and required four months to repair the damage. With everything involved, the fire qualified as a disaster, especially for my parents.

A major illness, disability, divorce, bankruptcy or felony conviction is a disaster.  Fortunately, few of us experience true disaster frequently. If we do, we can, with the Lord’s help, rise above the disaster to move forward. Life annoyances need to be kept in proper perspective and not deteriorate into a temper tantrum.

I personally don’t like problems, even if they are simply annoyances. I like everything to go according to my plan each day. However, this doesn’t happen. My client extended grace for my late arrival, but I also understand I cannot make late arrival a standard practice.

Last year a major storm took out my Internet service for a week. This was inconvenient and a major annoyance in my life at the time but hardly a disaster.  I moved to a coffee shop along with others in similar circumstances and conducted business as needed. While this reduced my productivity, I was still able to make progress.

At times I’ve met with clients who are in dire circumstances and believe that their situation couldn’t possibly get worse.  I always point out that any situation can always get worse. So while a business situation is difficult, you need to be thankful for what you do have going for you whether it is health, or staff or product.  Start by thanking the Lord for the blessings that you do have and ask for the Lord to guide you in the best way forward.

Paul provided guidance when he wrote, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NIV) Keep in mind that Paul experienced an unjust imprisonment, shipwrecks, vicious attacks and consistent persecution for his faith. If Paul was able to rise above these challenges with the Lord’s help, so can you.

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