Wednesday, October 19

God In the Game Of Life

Read Matthew 10:26-41

The game of Life is full of disappointments. There are some good times too, but everything is going along great and then your feet (or car) are knocked out from under you.

Lose a job. Wreck the car. Break a leg.

I’ve never liked that game. Real life is too full of bitter blows (real ones) to make it fun. Plus, it enforces the false sense that our lives are left to chance, that bad things come by an unfortunate roll of the dice or spin of the wheel.

When disappointments come we must cling to a greater truth. Is God who he says he is? The God of the Bible doesn't play games with those he loves. "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

I have a big disappointment sitting in my lap right now. This doesn’t make me an expert on the subject, it just makes me human. And I'm talking about more than "someone ate the last piece of strawberry pie" kind of disappointment. Things that make us sad, grieve, feel let-down, abandoned, frustrated, and lost are what make our souls ache in true disappointment.

What do we do with these normal life’s let-downs? I know hauling around this disappointment of mine isn’t going too well. It is heavy and I’m tired. When I sit down, my mind tediously fumbles to find an answer. The emotions of it all are so huge they crush my chest. I doubt God's plan and my hope is buried in confusion.

If you look up, “dealing with disappointment found in Scripture,” you’ll find many of the same verses I did. These verses comfort:

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the hornof my salvation, my stronghold."
Psalm 18:2 

"Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5

"The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him."
Nahum 1:7

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[; trust also in me."
John 14:1-4

(Try this source for a whole list of Scriptures)

God’s word has accounts of many people who dealt with tremendous disappointment. This isn’t a 21st century emotion. While I appreciate the comfort, I am still the child asking “why?” Why God, did you allow this to happen in my life? My why’s cause such doubts that I’m much happier reading Ecclesiates' “meaningless” passages than Psalm’s words of encouragement. Maybe this life really is a game. Does God even care?, I am tempted to think.

But God’s plan is bigger. Isn’t it easier to trust Him when everything is going smooth-sailing? When we are winning at the game of life. Dealing with the hard stuff, the saddening set-backs that make us want to quit must be faced differently as a Christian. It comes down to one thing: we must believe God is who he says he is.

Is God trustworthy? God... cannot lie. (Titus 1:2)

Is God faithful? Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. (1Thessalonians 5:24)

Is God loving? God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Is God just? He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. Exodus 34:6

Is God merciful? Gracious is the LORD and merciful. Ps 116:5

Is God good? His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering. Romans 2:4

Studying the attributes of God inforces what we know to be true. A trustworthy, faithful, loving, just, merciful, and good God does not play games in our lives. Disappointments do not come from a roll of the dice, chance, or bad luck. Each sadness in our lives is known to God, felt by God. Even when "why" seems to come back without an answer, we can trust that God will fulfill a purpose in our lives.

"Ignorance is worst when it amounts to ignorance of God, and knowledge is best when it exercises itself upon the Name of God. This most excellent knowledge leads to the most excellent grace of faith. 

O, to learn more of the attributes and character of God. 

Unbelief, that hooting night bird, cannot live in the light of divine knowledge, it flies before the sun of God's great and gracious name. 

...By knowing his name is also meant an experimental acquaintance with the attributes of God, which are everyone of them anchors to hold the soul from drifting in seasons of peril.

~ Charles Spurgeon

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