What’s your typical reaction to a setback?

What’s your typical reaction to a setback?

Last week I described a setback.

I’m fortunate to be healing quickly, and anticipate trading my pajamas for shorts within a few days. Then we’ll get to work recovering the lost training and fitness.

I’m considering my reactions to this unwelcome interruption.

Frustration, for sure. But I also see that I was pushing through some tasks, trying to force them to happen at MY pace, and it wasn’t happening. These weeks have forced me to slow down, and while I waited a number of seemingly unrelated events fell into alignment. One might conclude that someone greater than “I” was at work.

I don’t necessarily believe God caused this illness to force me to slow down, but it’s clear that He used it to remind me that there’s wisdom in waiting, that all the hurrying and worrying isn’t going to change much. Romans 8:28 is still alive and well. God has used this event, as He uses all things, for good.

Fear. All joking aside, even minor skin issues where backside meets wheelchair can be debilitating, even life-threatening. I imagined months of rehab and potentially significant lifestyle alterations.

Turns out I was fortunate. While the infection was serious, there’s really no skin issue. It’s apparently a freak incident that might have happened to anyone.

I could probably search for some additional responses, but honestly there’s one that dominates…


Grateful…for two weeks in bed with an infected sore on my backside?

Well, not exactly. Grateful, I guess, that it wasn’t as serious as it might have been. And for good medical care, quick healing, a wife who drops everything to care for me. I’m surely grateful for those. But it’s something more.

It’s a renewed sense of new beginnings, the Easter promise, the opportunity to see something familiar from a new angle. It’s the difference between ‘two lost weeks’ and ‘two weeks of rest.’

There’s something here about not just getting through it. Appreciating the process and what I’ve learned from it is very different from appreciating the end of the process. And there’s something different about appreciating it while it’s happening and not after-the-fact.

It’s an odd sort of unexpected gratitude that occurs in the midst of an unpleasant event for which I’m certainly not thankful.

Have you experienced that kind of gratitude? How do you explain it?

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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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