Diplomatic Notes

Focus on opportunities

As we prepare to enter into another year, we face more uncertainty, more unpredictability and more trepidation. There is reason to be alarmed. There is good reason for fear, and there is good reason to be hesitant. These are natural emotions in the face of danger and challenges. I have listened as many have voiced their pessimism with statements like ‘we are finished’, ‘the road ahead is insurmountable’, ‘we are not going to make it’. While I appreciate the concern and the worry, we really need to calm down and take a Jesus look at the situation.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” In other words, if you are a Believer, Jesus allayed our fears before they arose. Before there was a coronavirus there was, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” To overcome means to have surpassed every challenge and attained victory in every situation. Yes, it has been painful. Yes, we have lost loved ones along the way. Yes, it has been economically challenging and some of our worst fears have come to past. These things are very real, but Jesus admonished us to focus on the fact that there is a way out – and he has given us the tools to overcome.

There are only two parts to life – our part and God’s part. He will not do our part and we cannot do His part. He has told us to be of good cheer in the midst of tribulation, so that is the part that we can do. There are opportunities in every challenge, so we have to focus on the opportunities and not how bad the challenge is. It is important to admit the challenge but focus on the opportunities. Individually, and as a nation, there are opportunities abounding in the midst of this trial. There are opportunities for us to get better rather than bitter. The ones who have focused on opportunities, will be the ones who will find success.

What opportunities are there? This pandemic is causing shifts and those who are ahead of the shifts are the ones who will be successful. If you focus on the problem, alone, you will miss the shifts and become a victim. Let me give you some examples. There are people who have stayed home and lived in fear, constantly complaining about not being able to go out, the restrictions and how it used to be. Others have gone online, enrolled in a course, began working on a new business, and learned how to utilize new technology to further their education or business interests. These are the people who have focused on the opportunities.

I have a friend who successfully changed their model of business and saw their business grow exponentially. During the pandemic, they made the shift from traditional media advertising to learning how to leverage social media like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, to build their business and make money.

There are individual opportunities and there are country opportunities. The Bahamas has discovered home porting for cruise ships – this is a new opportunity. We have seen an increase in Airbnb – this is an opportunity for Bahamians to have greater ownership in the tourism product. These are just some simple opportunities that if we keep thinking and seeking, we will find. It is so important to focus in and find the opportunities rather than the problems.

The problems are already here. Focusing on the problems does not change your situation. Focusing in on the opportunity will. As humans, we have a tendency to overstate problems, even the big and imposing problems, but when we do, it creates a barrier to solutions. I encourage you today to begin focusing in on the opportunities.

• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to
pastordaveburrows@hotmail.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.

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