“You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.”
– Psalm 18:39
According to my airline pilot friends the periodic flight simulator training and testing they are required to undergo has less to do with the basics of normal takeoffs, landings, and flying their particular aircraft, and much more to do with responding to adverse situations. Most experienced professional pilots can fly a plane practically blindfolded. But what they must practice over and over is how to react when things go awry, of which there are endless possibilities. More than anything else, and thankfully so, it is this preparedness that limits the number of mishaps to the small percentage it is.
Likewise, there are a lot of excellent golfers around, but only an elite few become PGA winners. The difference between the amateurs and pros is not that the pros necessarily hit the ball longer and straighter and sink more putts, nor do the pros do a better job of avoiding trees and sand traps. What the pros do better, however, thus setting them apart from the amateurs, is in their ability to recover from the tree hazards and sand traps – dealing with the adversity they encounter. Same is true for football. Just watch the current top NFL or college teams play. Certainly, the best teams tend to make fewer mistakes, but odds are the ultimate winners will be the teams who scramble out of tight situations most effectively.
In my youth I had dreams of a perfect life, perhaps you did too – perfect job, perfect home, perfect family, perfect everything. But life doesn’t work that way, does it? “In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus reminds us (John 16:33). Adversity is inevitable.
In this life we will surely and unavoidably encounter difficulty, though some certainly more than others. But what separates an abundant life from a tragic one is neither an absence of adversity nor the severity of it; rather it is how we deal with it when it occurs. So, if you are living an abundant life it is because you know how to react when things go awry, or how to recover from the hazards of life and scramble out of tight situations. On top of that, I’m willing to bet you know the One who armed you with the strength to do so in the first place; for “You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.”