No-win situations…

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Scripture: 2 Samuel 17:23 When Ahithophel (chief advisor to David’s rebellious son Absolom) saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to his own city. He set his house in order, and hanged himself; he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.

Observation: Ahithophel appeared to be in a no-win situation. His master Absolom no longer listened to his counsel. If Absolom prevailed in his bid to steal the throne from David, Ahithophel would no longer be chief advisor. Humiliating. If Absolom failed and Ahithophel survived somehow, he would likely be executed as a traitor. Seeing no way out, he took his own life.

Application: My wife Jana and I like to watch the TV show “Survivor”. Been watching it since its first season. As you know, when one of the teams on the show loses a challenge, they go to “tribal council” where they have to vote one of their own team members off the island. The scrambling and deal-making and politicking just before tribal council can be absolutely frantic!

What I find interesting is how often a person who appears to be the obvious choice to be voted off (dead man walking!) gets a last-second reprieve. Why? Because another conflict rears its head at the last minute and the plan gets changed. And the one who was doomed moments ago survives to fight another day. Happens ALL THE TIME.

Ever been in a situation which feels like “dead man walking”? Most of us have. And in such times, it’s tempting to throw up our hands and give up as Ahithophel did. By taking his own life Ahithophel took control of his own ending rather than leaving it to others. I get it.But giving up also denies our God the opportunity to do something unexpected, even impossible.

Some of us are in no-win situations right now, including me. There are several issues I’m dealing with that appear to be of the “darned if I do, darned if I don’t” sort. It’s frustrating. But rather than give up, this morning’s story has encouraged me to stay engaged. One never knows what can happen at the last possible moment to save the day.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there are lots of us who are dealing with situations that appear to us to be impossible. But nothing is impossible for you. Give us grace to hold onto hope, no matter how slim. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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