the lesser of two evils (what to do when both choices are bad)?

syringeGet a flu shot or get the flu.

UGH! I hate getting preemptive shots. Ok, so you’re going to give me a shot in my arm that is going to hurt like Hades, and has the potential to make my arm swell, give me a fever, and make me feel like I have mild flu like symptoms OR I could roll the dice and take my chances of not contracting the flu virus. I’ll gamble!!

Well, in the past I might gamble..but with all these swine germs floating around it seems to be safer to go for the lesser of two evils and choose option A.

I’ve never cared much for being put in a situation where both options seem to lead to bad outcomes. However, sometimes that is just the way it has to be. Paul went through a very similar situation in Acts 27.

21 After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.

26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land.28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep.29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow.31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.”

32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.
33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food–you haven’t eaten anything.34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.”35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board.

After the crew of the ship ignored his advice here are the things that transpired:

  • Paul says, “I told you so.” (vs 21)
  • Paul says, “Don’t worry, you won’t die.” (vs 22)
  • Paul gives two seemingly bad options, “If anyone leaves the ship we may die, or we can all stay on board but the ship must be wrecked.” (vs 31 & 26)
  • Paul reassures, “You will all live if we run the ship aground.” (vs 25 & 26)
  • Paul is successful in calming the 250+ men, “They were all encouraged.” (vs 36)

My takeaway here is that sometimes, in order to get to the desired outcome, we must go through a difficult time. There are times that we will swear God is nowhere to be found, when in fact He is allowing us a journey (albeit a painful one at times) to get us to His desired outcome for our lives. He is always in control. I like that. I don’t like pain, or experiencing pain, but He is so much wiser than I. I will trust Him. I need trust in Him to be normal for my life.

[I will develop this theory a little further in future posts. I’m reading a book called Downpour by James McDonald and this idea has been introduced in the first chapter..stay tuned.]

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  • Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

    • thanks for stopping by..come by anytime..

  • Eddie Sharpe

    Trey, thank you. Sometimes I feel like im on a rock in the middle of the ocean. The waves keep beating all around me trying to shake me from my foundation. Before I was saved, I felt like I was always drowning.Now with God, I KNOW no matter how bad things get all around me, I am and always will be on solid ground.Guess you can say, sometimes its better to be on rocky ground and trust Jesus, than to be in a seas of hopelessness!

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