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A Thousand, Thousand

April 19, 2015

Title page of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Third Quarto (1611) (PD)

“…and by a sleep to say we end The heartache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished.”

– William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”

Ethics and the Law

The law can be a challenging career, demanding commitment, sacrifice, and fortitude. What may be even more difficult to live with are the compromises the world will impose on us, in the course of our careers.

As lawyers, we are required to adhere to ethical tenets; as Christians, to moral standards even higher.  There is no question about that.  But if we seek diligently to practice within those boundaries, we will encounter opposition.


We will be forced to fight for resources, yet against what seem to others profitable – if questionable – courses of action.  We will argue over budgets with non-lawyers who do not see the value of our work.

We will confront internal politics that have nothing to do with protecting the clients, and everything to do with protecting private fiefdoms.  We will work exhausting hours to offset staff reductions.  We will risk our jobs, in the often fruitless attempt to convince management to change bad policies.

All this simply to do our jobs as they should be done.

Natural Shocks

The struggle is not, of course, confined to the legal profession.  Men and women of integrity face it in the workplace, everyday.  Defeats are among the “thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to,” as Shakespeare put it.

Which can be deeply discouraging.

But life still has meaning and purpose.  It is not defined by the terms of an employer, but by the terms of an infinite God with whom all things are possible.

A Thousand, Thousand

Ours is more than a God of second chances.  He is the God of a thousand, thousand chances!  The God who gave His very life that we might be saved.

Despite our failures, and character flaws; despite the bad choices made and the bad company kept; despite the wrong turns taken, and the opportunities squandered; despite the battles lost, and the circumstances beyond our control.

A Muscle Strengthened

This does not mean that every one of our battles – whether with bureaucracy, management, unscrupulous business competitors, legal adversaries, or sin, itself – will be won or won without effort.  God’s strategy may well involve growing our faith, a process that can be extremely painful.

But trials afford us opportunities to trust in God.  As we exercise it, our faith is strengthened, just as a muscle would be strengthened by use.

“…[W]e also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5: 3-4).

Look Up

When you are backed into a corner, look up.  When you are beset on all sides, look up.  When you are caught in a trap, look up.  Whether you are overwhelmed by the obstacles in your way or the weight of your own mistakes, look up.

Ours is the God of a thousand, thousand chances.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and the earth on which they stand (Ps. 50: 10).  With Him, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day (2 Peter 3: 8).

We are never alone, and never forsaken.  We have His word on it (Deut. 31: 6).  In fact, we have the Word, Himself (John 3: 16).


  1. and I thank God for that…

  2. Q's Corner permalink

    This ties in very well with my last 5 years of painful experiences, I didn’t thinkg that I would come out victorious, but our God is indeed also a God of a thousand thousand chances! Yes, He is!

    Anna, it is so awesome how God arranged this far away meeting with a stranger, just to give you a fresh new spring of hope for your depleted spirit! That reminds me of Hagar and her son Ishmael, when they had been disinherited and sent away. Out in the desert place, God met them, gave them assurance and fresh water to drink. A bleak journey much like your own, but it ended with much needed encouragement, that God wasn’t through with you or them.

    Yes, we all have a purpose, we are valuable, we are going somewhere that will be totally awesome!

    I am so glad to have read this today, it is enlightening.

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