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7-Day Practical Faith Blog: The Damage Doesn't Look So Bad from Out Here

Public Domain, released by US Department of Defense. Copyright Reese Brown.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

One of the truest philosophical statements of the Star Wars movie sequence comes in the original (now called Episode 4: A New Hope), just a few minutes into the movie.

The two droids, C3PO and R2-D2, are jettisoned from Princess Leia's spaceship after Darth Vader and the Empire have captured it. Carrying information about the Death Star, the droids plunge in a rescue pod toward the planet Tattooine. Looking back up at the doomed spacecraft, C3PO observes, "The damage doesn't look so bad from out here."

Indeed, at times in life, the damage of an event doesn't look so bad the farther you are from it. When we are hurting, we think the hurt will last forever. Certainly, some grief never truly goes away; as I discussed in my book, The Next Thing: A Christian Model for Dealing with Crisis in Personal Life, we can take an approach to seal the wound, rather than heal it, in order to move forward despite grief that will always be a part of us.

But some hurt, disappointment or frustration can indeed look less harmful as we get farther away. For example, when I was a young man, my fiancée and I broke off our engagement. It was devastating, and I spent several months trying to rebound. It was probably the biggest crisis in my life to that point. But now that I have been married 37 years this week to a different woman, the hurt from losing the engagement is reframed and minimized.

I recently had a situation where I did something wrong that required me to apologize. I don't know how the relationship with that person will be affected in the long run, and that worries me. But I also realize there is little I can do right now; at this point, continuing to discuss the situation would only bring up their pain again. I will have to be patient and wait and see, for both of us, whether the pain dissipates or whether it stays, and what can happen down the road.

We can magnify moments in our minds. The Bible tells us there are times to deal directly with a problem, and times to let things be for awhile. Well, it doesn't exactly say that, but I believe it is a feasible conclusion of this famous Ecclesiastes passage about seasons of life.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Following this Biblical philosophy, there is a time for everything. Maybe now is not the time. But at some point, we can look back and realize the damage doesn't look so bad from where we stand now, and we can address the situation afresh or even let it go.

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