Why Not “Butter Side Up”?

We all know the old question, “When dropping a piece of buttered bread, what are the chances it will land buttered side up (or down)?”  And, of course, the answer is it almost always seems to land buttered side down.

This saying goes along with a dozen or more other related sayings such as, “When it rains, it pours”, etc…

But, what if that could be turned around?  If the odds are that the piece of bread lands buttered side down, why can’t the odds turn the other way, and it land buttered side up?  What’s to prevent such a change?  Probably, just us…

In order to ‘crack’ this requires a readjustment in how we think.  It’s not a matter of which side the bread lands on, but a matter of perspective.  I’m not saying you can simply ‘think away’ your problems, or that the ‘power of positive thinking’ solves every issue.  I am saying that in order to get a firm grip on the ‘buttered bread’ issue, requires us to change our thinking.

Consider the ‘Battle of the Bulge’….

The World War II battle in Europe, known famously as, “The Battle of the Bulge” illustrates my point.  Short summary for those unfamiliar with this battle.  Germany is losing the war on both the Eastern and Western fronts to the allies.  This is a desperate time for the German army and they must do something ‘big’.  They plan an offensive with massive troop numbers and tanks and succeed to push through the Allied defensive lines, creating a ‘bulge’, hence the name.  To the Allies this was a disaster, and a visible victory for the Germans, and for awhile it looked very bad.  When General Patton got involved he took a different view, however.  His general view went something like this, “This is great.  This will end up being a great victory for the Allies, as the Germans will have nothing significant to fall back on after we win this battle.”  In other words, most of the Allied leadership saw this move by the Germans as a defeat and setback, but General Patton saw it as an opportunity to soundly defeat the German army and win the war.

So, who was right?  Well, it largely depends on how you want to look at it, doesn’t it?  We did lose a large number of good men in this battle, and that is never a good thing.  However, in the larger scope of things, Patton was undoubtedly correct, as the Battle of the Bulge was Germany’s last great offensive of the war, and they surrendered to the Allies less than 5 months later.

So, what am I trying to say?  I’m certainly not saying that bad things are good things, and we just need to ‘keep our chin up’, or ‘look on the bright side’.  I am saying, that sometimes things may look bad, and seem bad, and feel bad, but in the end they may turn out differently than we expect.

We certainly want the victory, don’t we?  Of course we do.  But, without a battle there can be no victory, and no battle is pleasant.  Rather than wishing we could do away with all battles, maybe we should be finding out better ways to fight and win the battles that do come our way.

Have I figured it out?  Do I have this concept mastered?  Hardly…  I’m still in school, and the knocks are hard and painful, and I still make plenty of mistakes.

I do, though, sometimes wonder if Christians are praying ‘amiss’ – “Dear Lord, remove all battles from my life and make them go away.”  This is not likely to happen.  Has that prayer worked for you lately?  No.  Maybe a better way of approaching this might be, “Dear Lord, give me the strength, the wisdom, the courage, and the skill necessary to fight and win the battles ahead of me.”

This does not mean you will come out unmarked.  You may have mud smeared on your face, your clothes torn, your knees scraped, you got scratches on your arms, and you are tired.  There may even be tears in your eyes, but you are victorious, and in the end that will be all that will matter…

One Response to “Why Not “Butter Side Up”?”

  1. beamcguire@gmail.com Says:

    I will always think of this from now on every time I butter bread! 🙂 Blessings…

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