Addressing the Droops
We could call it the “droops.” It’s when the face sags. It happened to Cain when his offering was rejected by God. Abel was accepted. Cain was encouraged to try again. Not wanting to make this effort his demeanor changed. Downcast is another word to describe the hurt. It’s what happens physically to our face when discouragement walks through an open door and makes itself at home in our hearts. This kind of dismay isn’t welcome but it’s hard to force out. It’s triggered by a disappointing circumstance. It snowballs and becomes larger and more pervasive until finally, it infects. I’ve seen the dynamics on the basketball team I coach. A bad pass leads to a double dribble that leads and easy lay-up for an opponent which leads to angry teammates turned against one another. And that all leads to the droops on almost every face. And its impossible to score more hoops than an opponent when we have the droops. The result is the creation of a losing culture. In Cain’s case the awful result was murder.
There’s hope for overcoming the droops. As a coach I call a player aside and we talk when discouragement takes it turn with the girls. No one experiences perfection on the court. We talk through the problem and the issues surrounding the problem. We formulate a plan for turning the frown around. When Cain was experiencing the most intense pain from feeling rejected God came to him. Not to squeeze out a forced confession, but to help. God showed up and invited a conversation that might have led to a much-needed acknowledgement of his weakness and need. It was a “let’s talk” moment. God, in His mercy was committed to helping Cain. And with God involved there’s not a screw up that can’t be reversed. It’s the Gospel message. God reversed the curse and turned it into blessing through the death and resurrection of Christ for all of us. Cain wasn’t interested in talking and his discouragement became a deadly infection that fractured a family.
It could be that our “Coach” wants to talk us through some discouraging circumstances today. Have that conversation. Like I tell my girls, “your coach isn’t so dumb.” And in the case of those of us who are Christians our Coach is infinitely wise and immeasurably compassionate.