While watching President Obama’s speech on health care reform to the joint houses of Congress on Wednesday evening, I couldn’t help remembering something my friend Jack used to tell me. He was an astute businessman who almost never made a bad deal. Once, while having lunch, I asked him the secret of his success. With a slow smile, he raised his finger and pointed toward the ceiling. When I pressed him for something more definitive than divine help he said, “Never fall in love with the deal.”
“A deal,” he said, “is like a beautiful woman. Once you fall in love with her you lose all objectivity. Passion takes over, distorting your judgment. Now all you can see are the benefits. You maximize the upside while minimizing or ignoring the downside. You turn a blind eye to the risks.”
I suspect this is what happened in the last election, not that we had much of a choice. Barack Obama swept the starry-eyed idealists off their feet. They fell in love with the deal and denigrated anyone who dared to suggest that their idealized version of reality might be tainted by passion. Never mind that Obama’s resume’ was terribly thin and that his campaign rhetoric was heavy on style but short on substance. He was charismatic, he promised to change America and he was saying the things many people wanted to hear. Toss in an unprecedented economic crisis, a less than inspiring opponent, a biased media, and it is easy to see why so many Americans fell in love with the deal.Category: September 2009
“For those who refuse to give up, who dare to see with both eyes, there’s something beyond the darkness, something beyond the pain and brokenness of our shattered world.”
Most people can overcome any adversity if they can be assured of three things. First, they must know that God cares. Then they must be convinced that He won’t forsake them. Finally, they have to know that God will redeem their situation. As rational creatures, the thought that a tragic accident or some other life-altering event might be pointless is simply unbearable. But if we are convinced that God will ultimately bring good out of what looks for all the world like a senseless tragedy, we can somehow bear it.
Do you remember the time Jesus and His disciples got caught in a terrible storm? Mark records it: “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’” (Mark 4:37,38).
“Don’t you care?”Category: September 2009