Devotional 10/23/2022

By Charlie Gray

The recent mass shooting incident that robbed innocent people of their lives was horrific.  It’s difficult to understand the elements that constitute such an act of senseless brutality. Such events leave folks with an extreme level of loss and pain far beyond the standard bumps in the road. There are so many folks affected by such a tragedy and are left with the challenge of picking up the pieces and moving on with their lives. Extreme collateral damage with wreckage strawn across the landscape of so many lives.

Recently, my daily devotional time took me to readings on the Stockdale paradox. James Stockdale spent seven years as a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hinton during the Vietnam war. His days were filled with constant torture and heinous conditions.  Stockdale believed that his future was based on somehow turning this time of darkness and pain into a defining event in his life.  Rather than sitting around hoping for someone to rescue him, like many other POWs did, Stockdale focused on his resilient and unfailing ability to transform his circumstances into material he could use the rest of his life.

It’s a dangerous gamble in life to set our hopes and desires upon a specific outcome. In that, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Our focus must be on a reality based resiliency to transform pain and loss into a context to fuel our forward progress.  Life throws us seemingly unbearable pain. It’s up to us to figure out how to catch it and throw it back.

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