By Pastor Vern Kratz

I am a creature of habit. For the most part this has worked well for me. I like to park in the same stall. I like to leave my keys in the same spot. I do my work assignments in a similar order with regimented routine.

And because of these habits I can appear to be in control of my situation and very much on top of things. And when all the gears are in motion I have a happy countenance, a pleasant demeanour, and I find it easier to be friendly with people.

But my routines are like a house of cards – you take one away and the whole thing can collapse. The true test of my character doesn’t really happen until I am forced to react to a situation that is apart from my normal routine. Then my true character shows through.

How do I react when an unexpected curve ball is sent hurdling my way? Am I still able to keep a pleasant demeanour and a happy countenance? Is my interaction with people still friendly? Thankfully, most times I can say, “Yes.” But there are times I know I have a lot of room for improvement.

I didn’t realize how much of a creature of habit I was until I was displaced from my office for a few days. Much needed renovations are taking place and I am very grateful and excited about what my office will look like when the improvements are complete, but in the meantime, I have to wander and find other places to work.

At first I just walked in circles and was having a lot of trouble dealing with my temporary situation (I know, I sound like I am whining.) But eventually I found other ways to get things done. I’m sitting in the sanctuary of the church writing this blog. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I’m used to sitting at my desk (does it sound like I am whining again?) And I’m going to get this writing done!

In all seriousness, sometimes things happen to us that are out of our control. Even though the situation was not of our making or of our choosing – we still have a choice as to what our reaction will be to that situation.

“A true test of character isn’t how you are on your best days, but how you act on your worst days.”

I don’t hope for bad days or for bad things to happen to me – but sometimes they do. Trouble comes to everyone at some time or another. There will be times we are knocked off our routine, or someone will pop our happiness balloon. How will we react on those days? God, give me the strength to be the same person of strong character.

This morning at the men’s breakfast gathering we look at a man from the bible named Nehemiah. An author wrote this about him:

“It’s hard to imagine your life in captivity. This was the lot of Nehemiah. His beloved nation had been conquered, his people driven to a foreign land where they lived as captives. But Nehemiah was not going to let external circumstances control his character. Instead, he resolved to live with integrity and in reverence before God, regardless of his locale.”

What a strong statement of character. Let’s not allow external circumstances control our character today.

“This too shall pass…”

I’ll be back in my office next week!