So there I was once again petitioning my Lord to remove the pain.
The company I’m employed by has decided to invest in an outside resource to evaluate our effectiveness. You know, to see if we’re giving them their bang for their buck. It’s painful. These guys scrutinize everything we do. The stuff we’ve been doing for many years, they’re questioning why. Being the great man of prayer that I am (okay, maybe not so much), where else would I take this discomfort (well, besides grumbling to every co-worker, friend, spouse, and… this is looking pretty bad for me about now, isn’t it?), save to the One who hears my pleas? “Just take it away Lord!”
Wouldn’t it be neat if we could just get saved, and awake to find a path of smooth sailing until Jesus beckons us home? Surely we could find the attraction in wishing for no more testing situations… no more suffering, persecution, temptations, trials, and that aggravating neighbor next door.
My Pastor offers a reasonable take on this. Imagine what the state of the Jacksonville Jaguars would be this season had none of their opponents bothered to show up. They would be undefeated! They would be heading to the playoffs! If their opponents continued to stay home, they would win the Super Bowl!
Can’t you hear the broadcast? “Henne under center… he takes the hike… rolls out of the pocket! Man! The Jaguar’s offensive line is on their game today! Henne’s got all day back there! He looks left… right, up the middle… he looks left again, back to the right… being a little hungry, he pulls a Snickers out of his jersey, and enjoys a candy bar. He has wide open receivers all over the field! He throws! Blackmon snags a spiral from the air, turns toward the end zone! Uh oh, the receiver’s shoe has come untied… not to worry, he stops and ties it. Blackmon begins to once again walk toward the end zone. Hey folks! He… could… go… all… the… way! Touchdown, Jags!!! Ohhh… the natives are restless in the River City today folks! Blackmon dives into the crowd… fans are shouting… the rafters are coming down! The Jacksonville Jaguars are the 2013 Super Bowl Champions!”
Is this a realistic response from a team and its fans who are on the field by themselves? I suppose we could say the same thing about our faith if it were never tested and tried, couldn’t we? The term “overcomers” would mean very little without something to overcome. Maybe rather than petitioning for relief, I would better spend my time praying for the wisdom to understand what God is accomplishing through our evaluation.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:3-4).”