Our best is brought out when we are faced with the worst: our worst fears and our worst enemy, the worst case scenario and the worst possible predicament. Stress and strain tend to pin our backs to the wall when we are faced with what could be the worst. But then that’s when we are at our best.
The best tends to come out when there is the possibility of the worst. The greatest and finest of our moments usually come on the brink or on the heels disaster; we ascend to the top only after having descended, at least proverbially, to the bottom. We sink or we soar; we flop or we fly; we rise or we fall; it’s usually one extreme or the other as the two collide and vie for supremacy.
Peyton Manning was faced with a worst case scenario. Based on his circumstances, one could only think the worst. The critics said he would never throw a football again. Injured on the field, ill-treated by his team and ill-favored to play again, Manning, one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, was facing the worst.
Manning made the best of the worst. After neck surgery, Manning could not use the Indianapolis Colts’ facilities for practice and workouts due to the NFL lockout. Reluctant to have witnesses to his recovery, he used the Colorado Rockies baseball team’s trainers at Coors Field in Denver. Manning was unable to complete his throwing motion and his arm strength had significantly diminished. Based on an MRI, doctors told him in the late summer that he needed spinal fusion surgery and that at his age they could not guarantee his return to the NFL. And now he’s on the NFL’ biggest stage as he and his team are favored to win the Super Bowl.
Our faith can survive the worst. The Old Testament is full of shades and shadows, hints and hunches, clues and traces, anti-types and archetypes, fore-runners and fore-bearers of the coming, promised Messiah, and Joseph was one of them. Mistreated by his brothers, misunderstood by his parents and mistaken for dead by all, the worst was that fate tried to destroy him, but the best was that his destiny determined to defend him.
Our faith prepares us for the best. Joseph went from slave to sovereign, from the prison to the palace, from being down and out to being up and in. He was sold for thirty pieces of silver, and yet he did not return evil for evil; instead, he overcame evil with good. Instead of hating, he loved; instead of dying he lived; instead of retaliating, he redeemed; instead of fighting back, he fought forward; he purchased the lives of his brothers and his father with the corn of Egypt.
Joseph looked for and found the silver lining. He gave the best when he was given the worst.