“Something will work.” These words, once offered by a friend, were his attempt to correct an assumption we make when things are going wrong. In the face of apparent disaster, we come to the conclusion that “Nothing will work.” That approach brings an expectation of defeat to any project. It sets us up for failure. It isn’t true, and it definitely isn’t helpful.
Sometimes in an effort to be positive we overcorrect. We end up insisting, “Everything will work!” That isn’t true either, and may not be any more helpful than our earlier pessimism. This approach sets us up for failure as well, because we know that everything doesn’t always work. The good news is that everything doesn’t have to work. If that were the case nothing would ever get done.
I found myself remembering these words as our construction began this past month. The delivery of the portable classrooms went smoothly, especially considering the obstacles we faced. But then we got held up by a couple of administrative twists and turns. Our preschool teachers worked hard to get ready for a moving day that has yet to happen. They packed up their classrooms, hoping to be in the portables for summer school. Then they had to unpack them. It was disappointing for everyone. In a moment like that it’s easy to feel defeated. We think, “Nothing will work!”
With 4th of July celebrations nearly here, it occurred to me how many things went wrong as the 13 colonies sought their independence from Great Britain. American forces were defeated in their effort to capture Canada. Washington’s entire army barely escaped after being trapped on Long Island. They had no money to purchase supplies through the winter in Valley Forge. There were any number of near disasters along the way. I’m sure there were moments when even the most dedicated patriots began to think, “Nothing will work!”
In such times it helps to remember, “Everything doesn’t have to work.” It doesn’t! Those who sacrificed to bring about our independence showed that clearly. Despite defeat and failure along the way, they kept moving forward, working toward a goal that many take for granted today. The achievement of this new, free nation did not come easily. It is helpful to remember how much they had to overcome when we are challenged by the events of our day.
“Something will work.” I promise! Soon we will see more progress on the portables, and once they are ready the excitement will really begin. Even then, I know that there will be other frustrations and challenges to come. “Not everything will work.” I promise that too!
“Something will work.” It’s true in church building projects and nation building projects. It’s true as we grow in the grace of God each day.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus describes the kingdom of God as a farmer sowing seed on the ground. Some of the seed fell among the weeds, some along the path, some in the rocks. But when it fell into good and healthy soil, it brought forth a rich harvest – 30, 60, 100 times what was planted. That is God’s promise to us.
Grace and peace,