Conquering Big Hairy Problems
“I saw the granddaddy this morning,” our friend Jake whispered to his wife conspiratorially. Kayti and I were in Merritt Island (suffering through the cold winter tundra of Florida), having dinner with Grace and Jake, some friends of ours. We had been talking about hunting when he made this comment, and I didn’t know if they were talking in code or if he had actually seen someone’s granddad or what. So I asked, “What are you guys whispering about?” He laughed and explained how he had killed six ‘possums the past week, and that there was one in particular that he thought was the oldest and biggest—the “granddaddy” of them all. He had seen it that morning on a neighbor’s fence. I told him I thought it was awesome how seriously he was taking the task of weeding out the population of ‘possums. He smiled and said that if there were any out that night, I could assist him in the task.
Hours later, we were getting ready to go when I heard dogs barking! I thought it was the ‘possum Jake had told us about, but he quickly stifled my excitement by saying, “It’s not a ‘possum—my dog isn’t barking yet.” At that very moment, his dog started barking! He looked at me and said, “Now THAT is a ‘possum! He asked me if I was ready and I said, “You know it!”
When we got out to the backyard, Jake exclaimed, “That’s the one—it’s the granddaddy!” I came around the corner and saw one of the biggest ‘possums I have ever seen. It had to be a good three feet long and probably 25 pounds (it was practically standing six feet tall and peering over the fence at me with his graying whiskered snout)! At that point I began to wonder whether I would be able to attempt this great task before me. What if it jumped towards me?! Grace then ran up and handed me a shovel and said, “Here you go, now you can get it!” Now I didn’t have a choice! I had to kill the granddaddy, or lose all the manliness and honor I had acquired these past 27 years!
After Jake’s 20-second tutorial on eliminating Rodents of Unusual Size, we forged our plan. Jake would hold a light and pull the ‘possum off the fence with a rake, and I would hit it as hard as possible. A good plan, right? But once Jake pulled it over with the rake, he ran away, taking the light with him and knocking over a metal ladder in the yard along the way! I was now alone in the dark with the hairy beast, swinging wildly (and, unsuccessfully), trying to rid our fellow Merritt Island neighbors of his presence! The background music to my valiant effort, besides the clanging of the ladder as it fell, was Jake’s laughter as he realized his error. (Not that the light would have really made a huge difference for me . . . growing up in Thailand, the only thing I was used to swinging was a flyswatter.) We both collected ourselves, trailed the ‘possum along the fence line, and finally trapped him in the corner of the fence. “Now’s your chance, get it!” Jake cried.
I will spare you the rest of the details. Let’s just say that the big hairy problem was eliminated and given a proper burial, as all great ‘possums should be given.
This is a humorous story about a literally big, hairy problem I faced. But I think we can all agree that we sometimes face big, hairy, nasty problems of our own that we do not look forward to confronting. Some of us even face them on a daily basis—problems such as strained relationships, health problems, lack of finances, addictions, etc. I don’t know what problem you are facing today, but I do know this: you can defeat it. The Bible offers these comforting words, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” But what does this look like in daily life? There are a few practical things we can do to overcome those BHPs.
1) Be Prepared. Jake had mentally prepared me for the possibility of encountering the BHP that night, so when the time came, I was ready (well, for the most part). As believers in this fallen world we will encounter problems all the time…some self-inflicted, some not. A wise man once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” More often than not we get overwhelmed, stressed, and confused when faced with unexpected problems that look daunting. Note: it is unrealistic to prepare for every unforeseen problem, but you can spend time in prayer and in God’s Word and you’ll be surprised what a difference that will make.
2) Be Equipped. I was equipped with the right tools, as funny as it sounds in light of this story. Being equipped with the right tools for the right time dictates the outcome. In our daily lives, we must seek to equip ourselves or seek those who can help equip us for the problems we will encounter. The Bible says to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Don’t leave God out of the equation!
3) Be Courageous. As Nelson Mandela once said: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” I have often wondered in awe at people in my life who have faced seemingly life-threatening situations yet appeared undeterred through it all, only to find out later they were extremely afraid, but chose to do what needed to be done. We are all going to face problems and more than likely they will cause us to fear but we cannot let that paralyze us or we will fail.
So, go out there and face those BHPs and choose to trust the Lord in all you do. You never know . . . you, too, may be able to give your own granddaddy ‘possum a burial as well!