"This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end - which you can never afford to lose - with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever that might be." Admiral Jim Stockdale, Vietnam veteran, survivor of eight years in the prisoner of war camp "The Hanoi Hilton."
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, used that concept in his book in what he called the Stockdale Paradox, which he named after Stockdale told Collins who did not survive in the prison camp. Who didn't survive? "The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas, and then Christmas would come, and Christmas would go.... And they would die of a broken heart.'" Hence his statement, "the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality."
How does that speak to you in your current reality? Many of us know the depths that life can take us, so when we are in highs, we know that status is temporary. Something is just around the corner either lurking to snare us or waiting as life takes its many turns. In short, we should be "in the moment" even though we also know to look toward the future.
Paul tells us, "For I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstance." (Philippians 4:11) Paul was a learned man who had achieved greatness prior to his call from Christ and then suffered much for Christ, including prison.
If you are in the depths of the valley right now, our prayer is that you are lifted by God's hand from your circumstance. If you are in the highs of life right now, our prayer is of thanksgiving and that you not get restless because of successes. In all, we pray that prayer Paul prays for our lives that "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)
Hope Men's Ministry