Rising to the Occasion

Rising to the occasion is doing what needs to be done no matter how hard, uncomfortable, unpopular, or frightening the task at hand may be.

I’m sitting here awake. I just got up from a dream where a few of our kids ( I don’t know who was there, but it felt like church family) were swimming in a river. Somehow, they got on top of a submerged wooden playground that was traveling downstream way too fast. I grabbed a fishing rod and snagged it. It was the most powerful pull that I’ve ever experienced.

I lost the lure when the line snapped. Sarah and some other mothers come to me alarmed about the children. I look down the river and they’re going away fast, almost out of sight.

The unseen playground has picked up speed. I hear the concerned voices raised around me.

Out nowhere, my friend and some other men have grabbed boats to go fetch the kids.

Now my friend jumps into the swift water and rescues Wesley and the other children from the runaway playground.

I catch up with them on the shore about a mile down river past the bridge where my line broke. The hero of the situation walks out of the water straight faced, not expecting any reward. He just did what needed to be done.

Thank God for people like this.

I’m writing this in the middle of the night because I need to remember it. Sometimes you have a dream and you know that you shouldn’t have finished off all of the weekend’s leftovers before you went to sleep, but sometimes you know that there was something more in a dream. I think this was a case of the latter.

I remember being worried about labor when Sarah and I were expecting our first child. It’s like war, no amount of training can prepare you for the real thing. A friend at church laughed at me when I told him I was concerned about not passing out. He said, “Don’t worry about it. You’ll rise to the occasion.”

I suppose that’s what happens a lot in life. We are constantly faced with difficult situations and we either rise to the occasion and win, or we don’t do anything and lose. Even if we don’t lose, inaction rarely brings a desired outcome. Some of us wait for a hero to come and fix everything, and while it is a nice thought, it hardly ever happens.

Rising to the occasion is doing what needs to be done no matter how hard, uncomfortable, unpopular, or frightening the task at hand may be. It doesn’t take much talent to rise to the occasion, just a lot of courage.

I wonder if David felt like this when he showed up at the battlefield with bread and cheese for his brothers only to find a stalemate with men cowering under the taunts of the champion of the Philistines. In spite of the ridicule and belittlement from his own brothers David rose to the occasion and slew Goliath. Not because of any reward-he didn’t receive one-but because he understood that there was a cause.

Most of the things that I am most proud of where the hardest things I’ve ever done. I will not promise you that rising to the occasion will be fun, easy, or even enjoyable, but I firmly believe that you will not regret it.