Gilland: Facing painful moments

Woman looks into distance over water

We all have those “Southwest” moments in life. You know, like the old commercial that shows a moment of terror for a person caught in an embarrassing mistake—who longs to be whisked away on a jet plane going anywhere but there. 

I remember one of those times, and it was when I was a young pastor. An event I had planned didn’t go quite as I had expected, and it was due to poor planning on my part. Days later, during the follow-up meeting to discuss and evaluate the event, I found myself wishing I were at the beach, or on a trip to the mountains. 

 “The reason that idea didn’t work was that it was fatally flawed,” I recall one of my friends saying. 

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While that simple statement stung a bit, it was spot-on. That portion of the event failed because it couldn’t succeed. It was flawed from the moment the plan was executed. 

Seeing that kernel of truth and admitting it is the only way to respond if we have any desire to avoid such painful moments in our lives.

But there is an aspect of that little phrase that opens up some really helpful theological applications—if we take the time to consider them. 

Have you ever wondered why you find yourself doing the opposite of what you really say you want to do? The apostle Paul could relate. In Romans 7:18, wrote this: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

The reason Paul would find himself not doing what was in his desire to do is the same reason our children throw a tantrum when they don’t get their way, or when we are tempted to make an excuse for bad planning.

Stated simply: We are fatally flawed. And that is why we need a Savior. We can’t save ourselves. No matter how much we could try, we will never get life right 100% of the time. Earlier in the book of Romans, Paul put it this way: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all in that same boat. We are all fatally flawed. And we all need a Savior. 

The best news is…there is One! That Savior came to us in a most unusual way, and that is the real reason we celebrate Christmas. The Creator became a baby, born to a virgin girl named Mary. 

He lived a life that was sinless (something we can’t do), and then willingly went to the cross to become a sacrifice, one worthy to pay for all of our fatal flaws. And, on the third day, He rose from that tomb, and His redeeming power is available to all who believe.

How comforting to know that He is right there, ready to help me in that “Southwest” moment…with arms open wide to help and forgive.

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