Odds stacked against somebody/something (idiom) – used to describe a situation in which someone does not have a good or fair chance of winning, succeeding, etc. Someone or something is unlikely to be successful due to some existing circumstances, conditions, or obstacles that are likely to present difficulties.
Those with relationship troubles such as estrangement, divorce, and prodigals know all too well the concept or feeling of the odds being stacked against us. The truth is that from the time we are born, the ‘odds as they say’ are already stacked against us — piled high in the way of our achieving happiness, of our gaining success, even to the point of intervening into our own livelihoods, and most importantly blocking our opportunity to obtain the precious salvation of our souls! Yes, the odds have always been stacked against us, just as it was stacked against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when He lived, walked, died, and rose again on this Earth.
The year 2021 will mark 9 long, agonizing years since our oldest left and became a prodigal, and 3 heart-wrenching years since our youngest followed suit. A year and a half ago, I came on this scene with my first article titled “The Love of Many Waxing Cold.” I set out to tell my story to share our last days experience of this ‘widespread phenomena’ that has afflicted so many in hopes of finding a ‘soft place to land’ among those of the household of God. To be fair, there were many brothers and sisters in Christ who displayed sheer love and kindness by praying for our girls to come back to the Lord and for the healing of our broken family — all of which I am very grateful for because I believe that God has been ‘lovingly and steadily working on’ our prodigals’ minds and hearts this whole time.
Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
What was disheartening was when I realized that even among some ‘so-called’ Christians, the ‘odds were still stacked’ in the realm of assuming gossip, rash judgment, ruthless bashing, and merciless ostracizing. Question: whatever happened to ‘bearing one another’s burdens’? Sadly, more often than not in these latter times, there will be no ‘soft place to land’ even among those of the household of God, especially when you need it and look for it the most. Hence Jesus’ warning that because lawlessness is increasing, the love of many will grow cold.
Jesus predicted that the love of many would grow cold as part of His answer to the disciples’ question, “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” In Matthew 24, in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus describes the end of the age that will precede His second coming. He says that there will be false Christs (verse 5), wars (verse 6), and strife and natural disasters (verse 7).
Jesus also warned of the persecution of believers, some of whom would prove to be false disciples who would turn on one another (Matthew 24:9–10). “And,” Jesus said, “because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (verse 12, ESV). Whether it is because of the deluding influence of the false teachers or the persecution or the fear of death, the zeal of many false professors will diminish. Their love toward God and toward the church will “grow cold.” True Christians, even those whose faith is weak, will persevere to the end (verse 13). Theirs is the true love, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and it cannot fail (1 Corinthians 13:7). True love cannot become cold because it is sustained by Christ, who is able to keep us from falling (Jude 1:24).
For those without the Spirit, however, what love they do have will become colder and colder in the last days. Paul expands this idea in 2 Timothy 3:1–4 when he describes the last days. The love those people have is not a warm, living love for God and His truth and His people. Rather, it is the love of self and the love of money (verse 2). Paul describes those whose love for God, Christ, and the saints is only in pretense, not in reality. They do all they do in a religious way from self-love and to selfish ends. Their aim is to gain glory and applause from men or to use religion to gain something for themselves. They do nothing for the glory of God, the honor of Christ, or the good of others. -end source
One place that I have found to be a ‘soft landing spot’ for parents of prodigals has been on radio host and book author Sheri McGregor’s website — a site which was created for ‘rejected parents of adult children’ to give them a place to share their stories of ‘angst and grief’ among others who truly understand. Sheri has also created a workbook to help those struggling to work through this devastating experience. It has been comforting to read fellow parents of prodigals’ comments and know that we are not alone in this time of tragedy. Undoubtedly, estrangement is a type of ‘tragedy and loss’ for many. Here is the link to Sheri’s website for those who also need and/or are looking for a ‘soft place to land.’ An Adult Child’s Rejection – Five ways to move on after estrangement (rejectedparents.net)
We also know that we are not alone when we read of the odds that were overwhelmingly stacked against our Savior during His time on Earth — just as we learn about how His own family and people despised and rejected Him, how the Pharisees and religious leaders sought to have Him killed, and how one of His own handpicked disciples ‘ratted Him out by turning Him in and betraying Him for 30 measly pieces of silver (the price of a slave)! While our Lord was hanging on that cross all ‘bloodied, battered, and bruised,’ asking God to forgive those who had inflicted His pain by citing that ‘they know not what they do,’ the enemy of our souls thought he had ‘won the victory’ by overcoming and beating our Savior through the stacked odds of annihilation and death!
Matthew 26:53 “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”
Little did the Evil One know that Jesus could have at any time called down Twelve Legions of Angels. Little did the Enemy know that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Little did the Devil know that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Little did the Principalities and Powers know that Jesus sees the end from the beginning; thereby, He has utter control and power to decimate and defy any and all perceived odds! Hallelujah! Last but not least, before the realm of Darkness knew any different, Jesus defied all odds by supernaturally rising from the dead and the grave 3 days later! Therefore, those who are on the side of the Way, the Truth, and the Life are on the ‘winning side’ even against all odds! If God be for us, who can be against us!
Candy Austin is an Ambassador for Christ/Freelance ASL Interpreter/Writer, just passing through on this Narrow Path with her beloved Husband and Best Friend Doug along with their 2 fur baby cats Harley (12) and Dallas (9).