Don’t be surprised.

The safety person came to our chaplain staff meeting one day. She needed to make sure that we knew how to use a fire extinguisher.

She said some general stuff. And she said four things, slightly summarized here.

  • The fire extinguisher is heavier than you think.
  • The pin is hard to pull out than you expect, so pull hard.
  • The handles are harder to squeeze than you expect.
  • The spray has more recoil than you expect, so brace yourself.

I paid attention. No one has ever told me how the operation might feel, what resistance I might face in using the fire extinguisher.

I had forgotten about those details until I was at the eye doctor today. I was looking into one of the testing devices and the tech said, “It’s okay to blink” and “It’s going to look fuzzy, here’s why” and “almost done.”

Knowing what’s going to happen helps us endure uncertainty and survive trouble.

losersThat’s what Jesus did for his disciples during their last meal together. He walked through what was going to happen to him. He walked through some of what would happen to them. He explained that he was going to send a helper who would help them in their confusion and inability to remember all the instructions he was giving them.

He told them how much they were going to fall apart. “A time is coming,” he said, “and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

So when we have a hard time, it’s often not because we messed up. It’s because times are hard. So take heart.