“We’re in a tight spot!” The barn where they were hiding was on fire. Cops with machine guns were perforating the place and George Clooney, in his role in “O Brother Where Art Thou?”, looked like he was having the time of his life, thrilled to be in a “tight spot.” Appealing, that. Like skiers who enjoy the black slopes, whooping with excitement, even when they wipe out. They are doing better than those who agonize over every turn with grim anxiety.
I got thinking about the look in George Clooney’s eye when I read this simple verse from 1 Thessalonians:
Rejoice always…” (1Thessalonians 5:16)
In our day, that reads like mental pablum, advice from a timid Sunday School teacher who can’t handle life. But the guy that wrote that advice had been in more than a few tight spots. He’d been beaten, starved, shipwrecked, imprisoned and pursued by mobs of vicious killers. And, he was writing to people facing violent persecution. Paul had a gleam in his eye on the black slopes. He knew the power of enjoying the thrill of the hills and spills, no matter what.
But it’s not that he was a reckless adrenalin junkie. Paul knew God had sent him into those tight spots because they were ripe with opportunity. He knew God knew. When tempted to complain and feel sorry for himself, he knew how much better it was to rejoice.
Next time you are in a tight spot, call to mind the look in George Clooney’s eye, and the powerful advice from Paul. Rejoice. Always.