One Trade Away From Greatness


Sometimes It Is Healthier To Accept Than To Trade 

by Eric Elkin

always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.
— 2 Corinthians 4:10

In 1989, the Minnesota Vikings felt they were one player away from a Super Bowl team. A thousand miles away, Jimmy Johnson, the new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was lost in futility. His team was so bad, they needed to do something desperate. Unfortunately, they only had two players on their roster anyone else wanted.

Johnson tried to trade his top receiver,  Michael Irvin, but Oakland Raider owner, Al Davis talked him out of it. Davis told Johnson, “Who are you going to throw the ball to?” That left the Cowboys with one player to trade, Herschel Walker. 

Viking General Manager, Mike Lynn, saw in Herschel Walker the one missing piece to a Super Bowl team and made the trade. 

In the end, the Minnesota Vikings received one player who never lived up to the hype. The Cowboys, on the other hand, turned the trade into eleven players and a Super Bowl dynasty. The deal remains one of the most painful memories in Minnesota Viking history and left a stain on the career of a very gifted football executive. 

Reading 2 Corinthians this morning reminded me of a song we used to sing at camp, “Trading My Sorrows.” The song, written by Darrell Evans, was based on this scripture passage. It opens with the words, “I‘m trading my sorrows, I’m trading my pain, I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord.” My question is, where do Vikings fans go to make that trade?

Last month, I read Daniel D. Maurer’s book, Endure. In the book, Maurer examines the stories of seven people talking about resilience. It is about the power of various spiritual assets to help people traumatized find the ability to endure. 

One story I found fascinating was the story of Hunter, an Iraq War veteran. While on patrol in Baghdad, a group of soldiers was caught off guard by an explosion. The enemy had turned an entire building into a bomb. The subsequent blast resulted in heavy casualties, loss of life and trauma for the soldiers who dealt with the aftermath.  

Hunter was one soldier who did not experience typical PTSD reactions. The event left him traumatized, but he found healing in his Cherokee roots. Hunter called it, "Thinking Cherokee." Professionals call it Cherokee Harmony Ethic. At the core of this ethic is acceptance. One accepts the good with the bad and considers it all part of the story. 

2 Corinthians really never talks about trading anything. It communicates something very similar to Thinking Cherokee. That is, you will never control what happens to you but can control your response. We are struck down but never destroyed. We carry with us death so life might be visible. Good and bad, it’s all part of the story. But, it is a story of hope and life. And, it is a story we shouldn't trade away.

Click to read: 2 Corinthians 4: 5-12

Reflection Questions:

  • What difficult experience would you like to trade for a good one?
  • How has that experience helped shape you as a person?
  • How might acceptance help you endure trauma?
  • Where can the death and life of Jesus help you live differently?

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