It Is What It Is—Life Application for December 11, 2016

December 4, 2016 No Comments »
It Is What It Is—Life Application for December 11, 2016

By David Faust

faustWe’re all familiar with motivational plaques you see on workplace walls. I appreciate serious sayings like “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground” (Theodore Roosevelt), but I also enjoy tongue-in-cheek quotes that contain funny or thought-provoking twists—like these:

• “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” —A. A. Milne

• “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” —Mark Twain

• “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” —Lily Tomlin

• “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” —Will Rogers

• “If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?” —George Carlin

• “A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.”
—Steve Martin

• “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”
—Roger Staubach

Cynicism or Surrender?

During the last couple of years I have found myself using a short sentence that isn’t inspiring at all but somehow helps me cope. When I encounter some unpleasant and unfixable situation that aggravates me at work, I shake my head and sigh, “It is what it is.” Frustrated with the never-ending dysfunction of our nation’s political process, I mutter under my breath, “Oh well, it is what it is.” Joking with some friends, I remarked that I should put a sign over my office door that says, “It is what it is.”

Frankly, I’m not sure whether or not this is a good thing to say. Am I being too cynical? Does it reflect a lack of faith when I accept that an unyielding set of circumstances cannot be changed? After all, I serve a God who can do the impossible. On the other hand, doesn’t it honor God when we admit with holy resignation that we can’t fix things on our own? Don’t we exercise faith when we recognize our limitations and humbly surrender our problems to God?

God’s Hand at Work

Two women—one quite old and the other quite young—spent three months together at the older woman’s house (Luke 1:56). Elizabeth and Mary were relatives, and they had a lot in common. Both of them were preparing to deliver miraculous babies—Elizabeth despite her old age, Mary despite being a virgin. Both of them faced the pain of childbirth, and in the years ahead their beloved sons would endure misunderstanding, controversy, and violent death. Yet both women recognized God’s hand in their circumstances and praised him for keeping his promises. Mary exclaimed, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (vv. 46, 47). These faithful women had their eyes on the stars and their feet on the ground. Elizabeth and Mary saw God’s hand at work even when they faced unexpected, unsafe, and uncertain circumstances.

The other day some friends bought me a carved wooden plaque for my office that says, “It is what it is.” They gave it to me as a joke, but the plaque inspires me with a deeper thought. From a human perspective, the problems and aggravations I deal with may seem unchangeable. But thank God, he is the great “I AM.” I can face any situation knowing “He is who he is.”

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

As you apply today’s Scripture study to everyday life, read Engage Your Faith by David Faust and the correlating Evaluation Questions.

Daily Readings

Dec. 5


Psalm 111

Holy and Awesome Is His Name

Dec. 6


Psalm 89:1-6, 14

Faithfulness, Righteousness, and Justice

Dec. 7


Genesis 17:1-8

God’s Covenant with Abraham

Dec. 8


Judges 6:12-18

Gideon Responds to God’s Call

Dec. 9


1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah Praises God

Dec. 10


2 Samuel 7:11b-17

The Promised House for David

Dec. 11


Luke 1:39-56

Mary and Elizabeth Praise God Together



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