An Australian company offered mobile phone users a way out if they began to regret being on a date. All they had to do was discreetly dial three numbers and then hang up without saying a word. “Virgin Mobile will call them back a minute later with a perfect excuse to get them out of there. We’ll even talk them through what to say.”
It’s not just on dates that an opportunity to escape might appeal. Some way of disentangling ourselves from situations where we don’t feel comfortable might be useful in other contexts too. Sometimes though, taking an easy, especially a dishonest, way out is not the best option. Often we owe it to the person we want to escape from to tell them why.
Sometimes for their benefit, the right thing to do is to stick it out. Or, because feeling ‘uncomfortable’ can lead to new discoveries, we would on some occasions do ourselves a favour by facing up to an awkward or problematic situation. There are times when perseverance, even if painful, is what we should be choosing.
As Jesus “set his face” to go towards Jerusalem where he knew he faced almost certain death, there must have been many times when he wished for a way out. But his conviction that this was the right thing for him to be doing kept him going even when his courage threatened to fail him and he pleaded in his prayers for another way.
We may be faced with the choice whether to withdraw or persevere in a big or in a more trivial area of our lives. Whatever the context and whatever the decision, the challenge is to show respect to the others affected and to keep going when we believe it’s right to do so, even if stopping would be easier.
Read: Father, remove this cup (of suffering) from me; yet, not what I want but what you want.(Mark 14.36)
Rejoice: in relationships in which I feel perfectly safe.
Reflect: Am I avoiding any situation that I ought to face up to?
Remember: sometimes I may need to leave one challenging situation alone because another is a greater priority.
Resolve: to call on God if I need help to escape from, or engage more deeply with, a situation.