Insanity is often defined as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. Some attribute this saying to Albert Einstein. Others credit the ancient Chinese, or Ben Franklin or Alcoholics Anonymous. Who knows? In any case, this adage has become ubiquitous in our time.
My Mom often admonished my brothers and me, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Was she driving us insane? Sometimes I think it’s insane to do the same thing over and over expecting the same result. In any case, the jury is out. As a believer in Jesus, I know that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a new result can sometimes be called faith.
Is it really insane to…
1. …stick with the same old spouse day in and day out while expecting your lives together to yield fresh and new joys as you grow old together? If faithfulness to your family is insane, then Einstein was a very sane man.
2. …keep going to work at the same job as a reliable, punctual and responsible businessperson, working hard to be ready for new opportunities to strike that will make your business blossom anew? This may seem insane to those who live off of the toil of others, but I call it uncommon decency.
3. …raise each of six kids with the same time-tested values and still expect them all to turn out alike? Oops, now that really is crazy.
4. …pray for a child year in and year out to come to faith in Christ hoping that will happen before you graduate to heaven? Or, work with an addict for months on end with the belief that change is possible. Remember, the possibility of transformation is the essence of hope.
5. …share the gospel again after the last 30 people rejected it, fully knowing that this particular sinner might actually repent and incite rejoicing in heaven? I’ve actually seen such repentance in real life! But enough about me.
6. …stay faithful to one church family because it remains true to the gospel of Jesus (even though our culture disdains that gospel) ever expecting God to bless your long-standing faithfulness in ways that bring new spiritual health and growth to your church?
7. …vote for the same party that keeps losing simply because they are the only one you see consistently presenting decent candidates and offering a platform that respects human life, fiscal responsibility, honest work, marriage integrity, and basic liberties? Expecting to win with such candidates in today’s America may well be insane.
8. …visit day in and day out with a grouchy old complainer at the nursing home expecting to someday be surprised by a “thank you” out of the blue? Or, care for a loved one in a coma day in and day out and hoping for a squeeze of the hand?
9. …read the same Bible daily thinking that fresh new lessons that never occurred to you before will become clear?
10. …love a child unconditionally and persistently no matter how many times she says “I hate you,” while expecting her to love you with all her heart much farther down love’s long road?
Honorable Mention: …root for the Chicago Cubs every year expecting a game seven World Series victory. Okay, I had to toss a bone to the other side.
In the end, you get to decide for yourself whether something is insane or faithful. I’ll give author and radio preacher Chuck Swindoll the last word and you take it from here:
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible.”
The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.