Who would have thought? When change is possible…

Posted by on Apr 7, 2024 in Blog | 2 comments

man in red button up shirt

Ever had one of those “who would have thought” moments? I’m thinking of those in the positive category – when you are delighted that something has unexpectedly come off, or you are so pleased that someone you underestimated has hit a six. True, we also have dismal and disappointed “who would have thought” nightmares when things don’t go at all to plan – but this is not the place for those.

I’m writing this just a short while after Easter. Easter Sunday was history’s greatest “who would have thought” moment. Who would have thought that the man who died on the Cross on Friday would be resurrected to life on the Sunday? And the rest, as they say, is history. A radically changed history for this planet, as it saw the birth of the Christian faith. Oh the difference that has made.

Naturally most surprises are not of this magnitude, but they can be deeply satisfying. Like when your child conquers their fear of speaking in public and takes part in the school play; or when you find you can say no to that slice of chocolate cake and spend time on the elliptical trainer instead; or when despite your timid nature, you stand up for someone who is getting a rotten deal, and don’t back down even when the pushback is immediate.

Many of us have self limiting narratives. They are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. They are often based on our past behaviours, especially the negative ones. They provide the rationale for why we won’t succeed in the future – been there, tried that, couldn’t do it, it’s not going to happen. The tragedy is that they are often self-fulfilling. They stop us from even trying, and if you aren’t in the race, you certainly aren’t going to win it.

What does it take for us to put ourselves in line for a “who would have thought” moment?

Interestingly, I think it starts with Easter. The conviction that this world is not all there is, that death is defeated and that good triumphs over evil – well, it’s liberating. It gives us the quiet confidence to have a go. It’s a reminder that we don’t travel alone, for the living God is with us. To use Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (And who would have thought that the Saul who had watched on while Steven was martyred, and then went on to lead the persecution of the church would become Paul the apostle, second only to Jesus in terms of the impact he had on the shaping of Christianity and the world?)

Lamentations 3:21 is a firm favourite of mine. “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this. The faithful love of the Lord never ends.” We dare to hope and to have another go because of the faithful love of the Lord.

We are also more likely to have a go if we are with people who encourage us to. Surround yourself with “it will never work” people, and you will soon find yourself agreeing. And once you agree it won’t work, it won’t. So why not have the courage to walk with those who push you a little. They push you because they believe in you. That’s not to be feared, it’s to be celebrated.

And what if it doesn’t work?

So what, tomorrow is another day, and we believe in a God who one day will announce, “Behold I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). The status quo does not last forever.

Facing the future without fear is a sign that the message of Easter is sinking in. Paul asks in Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Who indeed? But it does start with the gentle conviction that God is for us. That isn’t about pulling ourselves up with our bootlaces. It’s about accepting the grace and forgiveness of God, and then having an unwavering posture of “yes” to all that God calls us to do. And who would have thought that so much good could come from that…

As always, nice chatting…

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

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  1. Love this post Brian. Thank you

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