Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lent Day 18: Thankful for God's will

"How can I know God's will? Is this the right thing to do?"

W and I are old people in the faith. We've served God since childhood and heard those two questions almost as often as we've asked them. "Should we choose this or that? What will happen in the future if I go this direction?"

I have two stories today about finding the will of God. The first is from my childhood. An old preacher told our youth group to get into motion if we wanted to know what God wanted. "Have you ever tried to turn the wheel of a car without power steering? It is very difficult when the car is sitting in the driveway but once you start moving you can easily turn the wheel.

"In the same way, God will direct you if you will work hard and do what is at hand. If you sit and wait around, you may not be ready for the job that comes along."

The second story illustrates the old man's admonition. This weekend, a high-schooler did the impossible. With a few seconds to go in the state championship basketball game, his basket wins the game and leads his team from heartbreak to victory and the prize. (Click here to view the astonishing moments = Watch #4.)

I've watched the footage of the final seconds of the game many times, tracking where this youngster comes from before he makes the play.

Coaches will be inspiring their teams with the clip in coming years. Rather than waiting to see what would happen, the player sprints from center court toward the basket. There is no play that would have specifically called for him, no strategy that requires his action.

Yet he runs at full tilt ... and when a split-second opportunity means a win or loss, he is THERE! The announcers can't believe what they've seen and they can't find him on the replays. All of a sudden, he's changed the whole game and his school's history. Doing what needs to be done, heroically on the spot! Winning because he is in motion and in the right place at the right time ... after years of rebounds and dribbling and layups and boring drills.

How many times would God ask us to do the impossible with his help, but we've not been nearby? How many opportunities have we missed to share the gospel, help the hurting, or get that perfect job? Are we willing to practice and train, to get up early to study scripture and devote ourselves to God, to do the mundane tasks in preparation for extraordinary moments?

Where do we fit into God's will? Realistically, some of us will never have that "glory moment" when everyone looks at us with stupefaction and wonder. We'll never be the star who shoots the winning basket. Instead, we may play on the team to let someone else shine. The young man could not have done his amazing tip-off without his team.

However, sometimes the star misses her chance and the underdog becomes the hero. For that to happen, someone has to be in motion, fearlessly becoming the one who saves the day! Let it be you. And let it be me, O Lord.

Read more:
*Don't worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:1–6

*O Lord our God - we set our hope on you. Jeremiah 14:22

*We wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13

Moravian Prayer: Almighty God, we lift our hearts to you; and our eyes are fixed upon your unchanging glory. We rejoice in the promises of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power and majesty. Amen. (from Reign of Christ Liturgy, MBW p109)

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