One of my all-time favorite movie quotes comes from the 1970 western, “A Man Called Horse”. In the movie, Richard Harris plays an English aristocrat who comes to America on something akin to a sightseeing tour of the frontier. However, his expedition is ambushed by a tribe of marauding Indians and Harris’s character is taken captive and summarily beaten & tortured to the point of death. His captors initially intend to kill him but, instead, they tie him up with a rope around his neck – like a horse – and leave him a bruised & bloodied heap in the middle of their camp.
Eventually an old English-speaking Indian in the camp stumbles across him and begins talking to him. The old Indian is astonished that the marauding warriors didn’t immediately kill Harris and expresses his amazement by telling him how “lucky” he is that they spared his life. Having been brutally beaten, stripped, tortured & tied up outside like a common animal, Harris looks at the old Indian through swollen black eyes and dryly cracks: “I can hardly believe my good fortune.” The comment is bitter sarcasm at it best (or, perhaps, worst), but the old Indian’s assessment was in fact correct. Yes, things had gone horrendously bad for the Harris character in virtually every way possible, but he was still alive and that trumped everything that he’d lost or suffered.
As Christians, we need to assess our situations & circumstances in much the same way as the old Indian did. However, instead of doing it through a self-preservation lens, we need to do it through a Christ-centered lens. We need to realize and understand that no matter what we lose, no matter what we may suffer, no matter how bad our present circumstances – if we still have Jesus (and nothing else), then that’s more than enough. It’s not an easy thing to swallow, but Jesus is to be so precious to us that even if we lost all our worldly possessions, family & friends – yet had Christ – we should still be able to truly & honestly say: “I can hardly believe my good fortune!” That’s how wonderful Jesus Christ is!
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Phil.3:8)
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