Thursday, October 16, 2008

Control and Disappointment; Proverbs 16

God is in complete control. He knew me before I was born, and He continues to know me, to know the thoughts and intentions of my heart, to know when I sit down and when I rise up, to know my desires, to know what I need. And He provides for those needs in ways I can't even imagine. And He can do the same for you, if you will admit that you are a sinner and accept that Jesus died on the cross for your sins. You can become God's child and feel His love, no matter what you are going through. God doesn't promise that living for Him will be easy; in fact, He says that we will face trials and tribulations. But He will be with us through it all and comfort us. He is the God of all comfort.

My racing season wasn't what I wanted it to be this year, and I didn't perform as well as I'd intended to or trained for. But my disappointment pales in comparison to what I imagine one of my friends is going through, who, having trained over the last couple years to play on a pro or semipro team in a team sport, has yet to make it on teams that have seemed like open doors. In a way I understand the disappointment; I train for an entire year for one race, and if I don't do well, I have an entire year (or possibly 6 months depending on how much my body can handle) to improve for the next time, whereas pro or aspiring pro athletes train the entire off season and longer for a training camp. If they don't make it on the team for that training camp, they're on their own for another year.

Some sports are really hard to continue playing after college, too. Take softball, for example. Except for the select few who go directly to the, what is it, 6? pro teams in the US, after you finish your college career it's pretty much slow pitch or nothing. Even if you wanted to continue with fast pitch, you likely wouldn't be able to find a team to play with, or perhaps you might not even find anyone to throw around with who might be at your level. So pretty much, your dreams are crushed before you can even attempt to make it to a team, because you can't be practicing.

Not that I could have ever made a pro softball team, but I definitely quit softball and focused more on triathlons because it's an individual sport. I don't have to rely on finding people wherever I might live who would be able to pitch to me, throw with me, or hit to me so I could field. I did have to find someone who could help coach me and make me faster, but that's a lot less to ask of people than playing softball would require.

What I really wanted to share was how God has spoken to me through His word today, and I can't help but share some verses from Proverbs 16.
  • 1. The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
  • 2. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits.
  • 3. Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.
  • 7. When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
  • 8. Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice.
  • 9. A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
  • 16. How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
  • 17. The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; he who keeps his way preserves his soul.
  • 20. He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.
  • 23. The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.
  • 24. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
  • 25.There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
  • 32. He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
  • 33. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
God does require us to plan, and He will prosper our plan if it is His will. But even if our plans don't come to fruition, He still has everything under control. We may see the reason immediately, we may see it years down the road, or we may never see it. But we must trust Him regardless of what transpires. He is wholly trustworthy; when we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

These verses, and the majority of the Bible, are all about giving up control, surrendering to God, submitting to His will, doing His work, obeying Him, loving Him, trusting Him completely. I have not yet obtained that, but I press on toward the goal for the prize up the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I run in such a way that I may receive the imperishable crown of life.

Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

I love you, Lord. You have given me all I have and ever hope to be. Thank You for Your provision, for Your love, and for Your mercy. I do not even deserve to live, for I am a wretched sinner. But You so loved me that You sent Your Son to die on my deserved cross for my sins so that I could live with You forever. Thank You. Thank you for forgiving my sins, those that I knowingly commit and those that I unknowingly commit. I want to live my life for you. I want to devote myself wholly to your will. Let my plans be Your will. Help me to love You and Your people more and more each day.

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