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A Thousand, Thousand

August 2, 2020

“Hamlet and Ophelia” by Mikhal Vrubel (1883), (PD-Art, PD-old-100)

“…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).

Originally posted 4/19/15


  1. What an insight for those of us who look on from the outside, many thanks Anna. And what a positive outlook you have. I’m sure God sees and cares.

    • It was a taxi driver from the islands who passed on that phrase to me — the God of a thousand, thousand chances. I was at the time deeply distressed about things at work. I cling to that thought in my darkest hours.

  2. True, every profession is facing ethical dilemmas. As media practitioners continue to share the media sphere with citizen journalists and non professionals who take part in media ethical discourse and set its rules, professional journalists seek to compromise their professional ethics of serving the public through responsible and objective reportage of news in order to survive the quandaries of the changing rules of media practice.
    Thank you for reminding us that we can look up to God for guidance in view of upholding ethical guidelines in our professions.

  3. Thanks Anna
    Truth,justice and Wisdom seem hard to come by these days. Forgiveness even less in a culture that deems it a personal weakness

    • So true, Gary. All Christians can do is spread — and live — the truth. “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life’ ” (John 8: 12).

  4. It sounds like a career in Law closely resembles a career is Safety management Anna. Oh how I remember those battles for resources to protect the company’s most valuable asset(it’s workforce), only to be denied time and again.

    What always kept me fighting was the simple truth that what I was doing was right, and it’s never wrong to do the right thing. Interestingly, only a couple of days ago I had a former coworker tell me that the workforce knew I was in the fight for them, even if it didn’t always turn out the way I had hoped. That was nice to hear, but it would have been VERY nice to hear a few years ago! Still, those trying times helped to instill in me the simple truth that people matter because they matter to God, and that they are worth the effort.

    I see that same truth when I look at the Cross. In God’s eyes, we were worth whatever it took to redeem us. Even the sacrifice of His only Son was not too great a price to pay for our salvation because in His eyes, we matter. And yes…we are worth it. Even when we are being stretched beyond what we believe to be our limits of endurance, God sees that we are worth protecting and fighting for.

    Blessings to you my dear friend.

    • It is always good to hear from you, dear friend. How well you describe the situation! I would say that it is good to hear you fought the same battles I did, except that I know firsthand how painful those battles were. Ultimately, they destroyed my health.

      Astonishingly enough, God used that fact to create a space in my life which allowed me to care for my mother while she was dying, then allowed me to write. We have an amazing God. He sustains us through the impossible, as you and I can attest.

      May He continue to watch over you.



  5. I love the advice you gave Gary, All Christians can do is spread — and live — the truth. “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life’ ” (John 8: 12).

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