Game of Life

[Jesus speaking] Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. ~ Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

lifenoun ˈlīf  1. a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings 2. the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual 3. a board game created by Milton Bradley.

Decisions, decisions. Do I go to college or straight to a career? Buy a house? Stock? Insurance? And then there’s deciding on the color of that little plastic car which neatly houses a family of blue and/or pink pegs. Spin the wheel, move ahead, collect a paycheck, get married, have children, live happily-ever-after. Don’t know about you, but as a child that pretty much summed up my expectations of life. That and Barbie.

Funny how things change over the years. How reality sets in, how the challenges of balancing family and bills and health and God’s call changes our perspective on this game called “life.”

1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT says this about becoming an adult:

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

Putting away childish things can be good or bad. If it leads to irresponsibility and control, then it’s bad. But if it leads to maturity and growth, it’s good. If we’re honest we’ll admit there are times we don’t want to be mature and certainly don’t enjoy God stretching us into growth. Those are the times we ask the LORD a LOT of questions, most of which begin with “why” or “when.”  And, those are the times we usually wait (and wait and wait) for His answer.

Verse twelve of 1 Corinthians 11 goes a bit further into what putting away childish things encompasses:

Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

It tells us that, for now, we see things imperfectly—as if looking into in a cloudy mirror, but that one day we’ll see with clarity. The Greek word for the NLT version of the word “cloudy” is ainigma(ah’-ee-nig-ma), which means something obscure or hard to understand or explain, and for the NLT version of the word “clarity” it’s prosopon (pros’-o-pon), which means faced forward to see our actual self [countenance/appearance].  So basically, one day God will show us the person He sees/created us to be, including the situations used to grow us to maturity—and it will all make sense.

In the meantime, we need to trust in and lean on God, and allow Him to place His “burden” of grace and rest upon our shoulders so that life doesn’t overwhelm us. Then, and only then, will we be able to capture glimpses of His perfect will for our lives.

LORD, I am tired. Life is as hard as it is beautiful and sometimes I just don’t think I can move—let alone be stretched into maturity by Your loving hand. It is during these times I realize life isn’t just a board game I played as a kid. It’s real and it’s tough, and sometimes the spin of the wheel sends me back 10 spaces instead of jetting me forward. I need you, LORD. I need Your guidance and Your yoke of rest—a yoke that will not weigh me down no matter how many spaces I have to go back. Lead me in Your way everlasting, and teach me what it’s like to completely trust in You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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