Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Similarities between Athletes and Christians

I have quite a few different thoughts rolling around in this head of mine, and so here is a mumble jumble mess of them. Read on if you dare... :)

"Athletes work in and through pain."
--Dave Peterson, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church

I have grueling 10 mile speed workouts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are mid week long runs. Most Wednesdays I am quite sore and push through the pain, so that come race day, I am able to run to the best of my abilities. Dave's quote made me think of:

"Although He was a Son He learned obedience from the things which He suffered."
Hebrews 5:8

Pain is a form of suffering. Faith is a form of obedience. I learn in and through painful experiences in life. I could say, "Christians learn in and through pain."

On a different note... I want to share with you from the SCL blog.

“Are you scared about any of the things that are happening right now?”

My wife asked me this question the other night.

I thought about it for approximately .2 seconds and answered:

“Only if I stop to think about it.”

And that’s the truth, I’m excited and more than a little terrified by the adventure we’re on right now.

What if my new book doesn’t sell? What if I’ve moved my family from Atlanta to Nashville, moved my wife from her group of friends, my kids from their schools, me from the industry I was in for 12 years, in the name of a BIG DREAM and it doesn’t work?

What if?

I don’t doubt that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I feel incredibly blessed to be doing what I am doing right now. I feel God called us to Nashville and we are on the edge of an adventure he’s been quietly unfolding for years. But sometimes I find myself counting the giants.

And that seems like a pretty common thing to do when we’re called on big adventures. I think about the 12 spies that scouted the Promised Land in Numbers 13.

When they returned, they gave a long report, that can be summarized by one line they said:

“We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”

It’s easy now to judge the Israelites, but all too often, when we face our own challenges, we say the same thing.

I can’t find a job I want, the economy is horrible.

I can’t hope to fix this relationship, it’s beyond repair.

I can’t sell my house, the situation is hopeless.

I can’t be a successful author, I just have a niche satire blog.

Sometimes, despite our hope or our faith, we make “I can’t statements.” And although this would traditionally be the point in the post where you do the rainbow 180 and say, “You can do anything you set your mind to,” I’m not going to do that. Because I think the Israelites were right when they said “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” But here’s a critical truth the Israelites missed, something that trips me up sometimes too:

God never said to do it alone.

God never ordered the Israelites to take the Promised Land with their power and their wisdom and their ability. Not at all. In fact he promises just the opposite in Exodus 6:6-8

‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”

Look at what he says:

I will bring you out

I will free you

I will redeem you

I will take you as my own people

I will be your God

I will bring you to the land I swore

I will give it to you

Seven times, in three verses, God reminds the Israelites and us that he never calls us on adventures alone.

There’s a long list of things you can’t do. You can’t fight giants. You can’t find a new job. You can’t fix relationships. You can’t. You can’t. You can’t. But God can.

I’m a little scared of what’s ahead, but I’m excited too. I’m just going to take one step at a time. I’m not going to count giants. I’m not going to try to force God’s hand to make things happen the way I want them to. I’m going to take one step at a time and remember that I serve a God who never asks us to go on adventures alone.

I love the I WILL statements! Not only does God tell us what He will do, He promises us that we will never go on adventures alone! What adventures are you and God journeying on together, right now? Are any of these adventures painful? Are you learning through them?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice Faith. I know we have all learned a lot through pain. Some of you crazy athletes seem to even seek it out. Maybe thats not a bad idea, maybe its not seeking it out but just welcoming it as an indicator . Whenever I think of pain and suffering I remember A Man for All Seasons and GK Chesterton.

When Richard Rich is trying to convince Thomas More that all men can be bought, obviously they have different ideas-
Thomas More: Buy a man with suffering?
Richard Rich: Impose suffering, and offer him escape
Thomas More: Oh… for a moment I thought you were being profound.

Seems odd to try and purchase a man with suffering. Im not sure I would sign up for that. Profound that someone did just that. If we are true Christians and co-heirs we should welcome and share not only His glory but also His suffering. Of course, ours will be less then redemptive but that has already been taken care of. If we offer up and give all the glory to God then why not offer up the suffering to Him. I believe we are becoming better for it.

life is a battle in which the best put their bodies in front, in which God sends only His holliest into the hall of the arrows of hell. In the book of Job is foreshadowed that better doctrine full of dark chivalry that he that bore the worst that men can suffer was the best that bore the form of man.- GK Chesterton