Picture the scene: Tough-talking, pin-striped power-suited executive strides into glass penthouse boardroom and with a thwack, slams a dossier on to a table. This is her final offer. If the company doesn’t accept it, she’s pushing forward anyway. It’s a hostile takeover.
I used to think hostile takeovers were dramatic scenarios only found inside glass-fronted towers in Hollywood movies. Turns out that any one of us, at any time, can become the victim of one.
It might be that person at the school gates who’s determined to park in the same space every day…he really doesn’t care if it inconveniences anyone else.
It might be the chap at church who gets power crazy over the tea and coffee rotas.
It might be the gal at the office who steals your ideas and gets a brilliant (totally unjust) promotion.
Whatever the circumstances, the feelings are usually the same; devastation, loss, despair, rage, a gnawing feeling which wakes you up at 3am, filled with fury, because there’s nothing you can do.
It’s not just the stuff of boardrooms. It’s the stuff of real life. But is there a way to navigate through it?
Keep your powder dry
I love the story of Esther, how a relatively young girl was catapulted into a position of authority, eventually being able to change the fate of a whole people group. But (as the saying goes), she ‘kept her powder dry’, was skilful in her response and waited until the perfect moment, before approaching the King. In the heat of the moment, it can be so easy to leap to a knee jerk reaction, to let our mouths spring into action,before brains are in gear. Timing (as the story of Esther illustrates) is everything.
Things might not be as bad as they seem.
When emotions are running high, it can be easy to get a tad hysterical (oh yep, I’ve been there) and imagine all sorts of end-of-the-world scenarios. But what if, things are not as bad as they seem? What if there’s a way through? A way you’ve not yet thought of? I love the story of Moses, confronting the impenetrable Red Sea, surrounded by panicky people, with their Egyptian captors hot on their heels. There was absolutely nowhere to go and the apparent choices were; head back to drudgery and slavery. Or drown. Great.
But God had something different in mind and although things looked really, really bad, they were not as bad as they seemed.
The answer might not be immediate.
In childhood Biblical stories, the parting of the Red Sea is always depicted as this sudden, dramatic event. Moses holds up his staff, the water divides, the people walk through. But the original Exodus version says that it actually took all night;
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. (Exodus 14).
I know that when we’re facing injustice or a takeover or a huge, crippling issue, we want answers right away, an immediate response. But sometimes it can take ‘all night’ (and often a lot longer).
I love the song, ‘My deliverer’ by (the late) Rich Mullins. My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by. Understanding and really believing that there’s a way through (and a deliverer on His way) is the best way to navigate our path through a hostile takeover.