My Favourite Stories #82

A lucrative sporting contract.

They say sound advice is usually 99% sound and 1% advice. But today I will share with you one of the great truths of the universe. My story today starts when I mentioned a dumb thing in a sermon. I said we live such candy-coated lives in Australia that I never have to pray the part of the Lord’s prayer “Give us our daily bread…” I had a secure job that put more food on the table than I needed. (My current state is evidence of this.) I continued by saying that my faith had never really been tested.

During the following 5 years I engaged in a self-funded church plant that brought a multitude of traumas and spiritual attacks that would mock those words. Those years were the greatest trial of my life and I had to utter the words of Job when he said, “Though he slays me yet will I serve Him.”

This earth is a spiritual war zone. It is a cliché I know, but life is a journey with its ups and downs. Whatever you are going through, the goal must remain the same. Eternity!

Life is a bit like playing monopoly. Everyone seems to win something. Some win lots, others (the losers) little. But in the end, everybody has nothing, because it is just a game. But real life is serious. Death is nature’s way of telling us to slow down. It is more important to appreciate that whether we win or lose the most important thing is the relationship with those with whom we played the game. Things come and go but relationships are forever. Cemeteries are full of people who thought the world could not get along without them. Have you ever noticed how fair the death rate is. It is the same everywhere – one per person.

In a moment of reflection during this time, I had walked to the Cemetery where I lived in Robertson NSW. I went there because it had a great view across the valley. As I sat on a raised tomb and meditated this thought came to me, “where they now are, I will soon be and in the light eternity does it really matter?”

A Few years ago, a 22-year-old Uni student by the name of Len Bias signed a lucrative sporting contract. He was listed as an up-and-coming basketball star. He had a thorough physical examination. He signed a huge contract and was set for life. He flew home and within 2 hours had died of a heart attack.

In His ‘Sermon on the Mount” Jesus counselled us to “Take no thought for tomorrow….” Life is very uncertain and tomorrow cannot be known for sure because none are promised it.  Again, in Matthew’s account of Jesus life he records Jesus as saying, “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul.” (Matt 16:26)

Sometimes life is like trying to squeeze juice out of a lemon.  On its own not very enjoyable once it is done. Sometimes life hands us lemons.  Life can be like playing snakes and ladders. Our dreams are shattered, our life is in ruins, and we are faced with being back at square one and starting all over again.

Let me tell you one of the great secrets of life! The secret of peace is determined by the application of this principle.  God is sovereign of the universe, and despite the seeming contradictions of the circumstances of life, He has not lost control of  the smallest trifle. All things serve his purpose in the end, whether good or bad. In the long run everything, both apparently good or bad, works to His glory and the wellbeing of those who serve him. Despite the traumas of my life, I will trust the outcome to Him who is all knowing, all powerful, and always present.

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