I suppose it’s safe to talk about now. Now that they’ve lost. It’s been pretty tense around our household this past week, because my husband is a Dodger’s fan. And last night they lost to the Astros in the 2017 World Series in game 7. Need I say more? I have to say, though, that it could have been much worse. For the sake of his serenity, my husband tried something new. He DVR’d the games. Sometimes he would watch for a few innings, but if it became questionable as to who would win, he would simply go to bed. If he woke up to good news, he would watch the game in peace and assurance, knowing that no matter how treacherous the game appeared, they would ultimately win. Actually, had already won.
We were talking about his strategy yesterday, and I said, “wouldn’t it be great if life was like that? You only had to participate if you knew you would ultimately win in the end?”. And, you are probably way ahead of me here, our very next thoughts were reflective of how, if you believe in a personal, saving God, you already have.
It’s not only about the promise of life after death. It’s also about how you participate in you life before you get there. God makes 3 pretty gutsy promises to us through His Word. And not only do I believe them in theory, I have tested them ( not on purpose, necessarily) and found them to be true.
The first promise is that He will not allow anything into our lives that He is not able and willing to give us the tools and strength to handle ( I Corinthians 10:13). In the same verse, he also reminds us that such trials/temptations are “common to man.” In other words, you are not unique in your sufferings. You are not alone. Personally, when I see what some people have to endure, I have had thoughts like, “I don’t know how they even get out of bed in the morning. I couldn’t handle what they are going through, let alone do it with any kind of positivity or hope.” But then I rewind my life and look at some of the trials I have faced. I would have said the same about what was coming. I only had the strength and perspective to go through it with any measure of grace and hope as I was in it. It came in just the right amount at exactly the moment I needed to draw on it. I did what I would have said I could never do. It’s about trusting God for what you need when you need it. Don’t get ahead of yourself, or Him.
The second is a promise of redemption. In all things He works for the good of those who love Him ( Romans 8:28 ). That doesn’t mean that there won’t be some parts of the game that freak you out. Like when the other team hits 3 home runs or you strike out or get hit with the ball. Sometimes, even when you know the outcome is in your favor, it’s easy to want to quit or blame or fall in to self-pity. And occasionally, on the surface, it looks as if “Team Us” is getting creamed! We are losing our job, our kids are rebellious, or marriage is failing, out test came back positive, etc. But in spite of all circumstances, He can bring good in our lives if we continue in trust. I have experienced this first hand several times. I bet you have too. We don’t like pain or trials, but it’s hard to ignore that we often become more loving, more gracious, more faithful, more influential and more self-aware as a result. We can watch the “game” in peace, because we know God will use it for good in our own lives and in the world around us.
And lastly, there is the universal, overriding promise. The one that reminds us that God has already won. John 16:33 tells us to take heart. In this world we will have trouble, but He has overcome the world. In other words, even when 9 innings seem to drag on and on and threaten the outcome, we can relax. Even when our best pitcher can’t throw a strike and the other team has bases loaded and the umpire is definitely favoring our opponent, we can have peace. Things and circumstances may not seem ok and can steal our serenity if we don’t keep these promises in the forefront of our mind. But even though things and circumstances are not ok-God promises that WE will be OK. That good can come from bad. That ultimately the game is rigged, because He has already declared the Victory.