It can be difficult to find the perfect circumstances to produce the perfect outcomes! Life is so imperfect it is not funny. One starts low and ends high. From zero to hero. David the forgotten shepherd boy becomes king and leaves the ultimate legacy of having God’s city named after him and God’s son coming from him. Then another has all it takes and yet ends empty handed. From grace to grass. Moses sees the face of God, writes the word of God, leads the greatest exodus and yet does not reach the promise land. That is what makes Shakespeare’s stories and Chaucer’s tales engaging. We see the humanity of the hero bringing him down, an inordinate love of power taking power out of his hands; a love of treasure making him hide the treasure and losing it, and we cannot help but shake our heads in confusion.
It is said that between womb and tomb, there is a dash that needs to be filled with the entire value of a human life. So how do we navigate the uncertain ground of this life journey and end with trophies? How do we create success out of the mish mash of reality?
This is the beauty of the thousands of stories the Bible offers to us as the Word of the Creator. They present in one library historical accounts that allow us to note the points of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of real people who reached or failed to reach the goals of life. We are told from leadership and management studies that in order to have a strong and winning strategic plan, an effective SWOT analysis is key.
When you fail to note your strengths, you are unable to motivate yourself and mobilize your resources. When you fail to note your weaknesses, they will become the Trojan horses and Achilles’ heels that can make your success a bubble. When you fail to see the opportunities and threats each situation presents to you, you lose your winning cards and fall where you don’t need to fall.
Samson began life with so much. A life predicted by the angel of the Lord who announced himself as ‘I am’. Parents who had waited so long for him and put themselves through a forced routine to ensure he became who God called him to be. A recent historical time that had seen a leader like Jephthah mobilize the tribes and teach how to. Outrageous physical strength that could achieve anything he put his hand to.
Yet Samson seemed incapable of clarifying a vision of what his leadership was required to achieve, communicating with his people, and mobilizing them to achieve that vision. He seemed totally empty of emotional intelligence, oblivious of danger, incapable of interpreting what was right before his eyes and screaming into his ears. His events read like an incoherent list of ‘doing for doing sake’. Without strategy and plan, Samson blundered from drama to failed drama, leaving a trail of destruction and terror that brought no real benefits to those he was called to lead. By the time of his death, he had lost his physical sight just as he seemed to have no mental vision, and he had killed his enemies without helping his friends. So much at the beginning. All wasted. Because he seemed not to regard the points of SWOT.