Worst Case Scenarios
By Eddie Jones
When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself, enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst. Lamentations 3:29 (The Message)
"What's the worst that could happen?" I asked the college admissions officer.
"You could flunk out."
"Not if you won't let me in, I can't. Please, sir, isn't there some place you can put me?"
I sat in the admissions office at NC State hoping they'd give me a chance. That's all I needed, just a shot. But a look of disgust spread across the face of the clerk reviewing my transcripts. Months earlier, with SAT scores in the lower latitudes and grades barely above average, my college application had been swiftly dismissed.
"Son, I'd like to help, but honestly; you have no business at this university. Worse, you have no hope of graduating."
I persisted. (Tenacity was all I had left after he'd insulted my intelligence.) He finally relented, admitting they had a few unfilled slots in the Industrial Arts Program. Art, I thought. I hate art. And painting boring buildings at that.
"Okay," I said. "Industrial Arts it is."
Four years later I graduated with a degree in English.
My life remains a series of "worst case scenarios" that never happened. As a professional writer, I'm assured of only one thing: rejection. Each month my wife asks me; "Where's the work gonna come from?" I never know. But it always does.
And always has.
Despite my caustic personality I spent eighteen years as a paper salesman, three times making the President's Council. After a career in sales (and even though I could barely spell HTML), IBM hired me to code web pages. When I left Big Blue, I launched my own web design firm even though I knew nothing about running a business. Despite suffering through one of the worst economic periods in the past 50 years, I prospered and eventually sold the business. Each time it looked as if I'd reached a dead-end. I hadn't.
The Old Testament writer laments: Life is hard. Amen to that! But the writer also coaches us on how to deal with life's adversities. Seek solitude, pray, don't doubt God's goodness, and stop asking "why me, what's next, and how, when and where, Lord?" We're to face our difficulties with a full-on, in-your-face tenacity.
Mark Twain once quipped; "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened."
I have, too. And the thing I've found after each "dead-end" was the next thing was better than the one before. Each lost job led to better work. Not necessarily better pay (as my wife is quick to remind me), but more fulfilling. I still dream about my prior jobs but when I wake up, I call them what they are: nightmares. I don't want to "go back" because God is calling me to "come on."
What "worst-case scenario" looms before you? Don't run from it. Seek God in silence, voice your concerns, and wait for His strength. Chances are, your "worst case scenario" won't happen, but if it does, at least you'll face it with God by your side.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. Psalms 126:5-6 (Today's New International Version)
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Eddie's young adult novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Award in the Pre-Teen Fiction/Fantasy category and 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult fiction. Dead Man's Hand, Eddie's first middle grade novel in the Caden Chronicles mystery series, is now available from Zonderkidz. Eddie sails, surfs and writes in North Carolina.
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