“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Playing games has never been an enjoyable experience for me. In fact, I can very honestly say that I dislike playing almost any kind of game. Part of the reason for this is that life for me is a serious matter, not to be frittered away in pretend things that create unnecessary stress.
A second reason for this intense aversion stems from the fact that I don’t like to lose! Well, true, no one likes to lose, but not many like it less than I do.
However, most of our teammates love to play games and I was being called upon to participate with alarming regularity. And in the process was performing very well my function of keeping anyone else from being in last place! But in this God had a purpose: He was very patiently and gently working to show me three great truths from a new angle.
First, about security. Losing is a great a threat when you’re already insecure. It just reinforces the negative ideas I already had about myself. However, Ephesians 1 doesn’t say we are “accepted in the Beloved” because we are winning at UNO! Losing is a good reminder that we must operate by faith, knowing that we are “more than conquerors in Christ,” accepted no matter what. A good dose of meditation in Ephesians 1 helped me here.
Second, about obedience. Psalm 50:12 and 23 in the NIV both point out that when we give thanks, especially for things we don’t like, we open the door for God’s help. There I was, playing UNO again with a score of minus 25, in last place and feeling very sorry for myself, when those verses popped into my mind. “OK, I’ll believe you, Lord and thank you that I’m in last place!”
You may not believe it, but I won the next 4 hands and was up to plus 10! I quit at that point while I was no longer in last place, but was very impressed with the faithfulness of the Lord to His Word.
Now, I don’t take that to mean that I’ll win every game if I give thanks for being in last place, because our Lord is not a Santa Claus, but a God who wants us to live by His Word, even when things don’t work out as we’d like.
Third, about God’s view of things. In rememorizing Colossians 3, verse 4 leapt out with new meaning: “When Christ, who is your life appears, then shall you also appear with him in glory.” That means that we are definitely going to win in the long run. That is an obvious truth which I had grasped intellectually, but not emotionally. For one who is over-familiar with the emotions of losing, this truth about the outcome of my life and the positive emotions associated with it, are a great release from being trapped in the momentary and the unimportant losses in life.
All this points to the words of Christ: “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).
Prayer: “Lord, I praise you that in your love we are all valued, cared for and deeply loved. Help me to live in this truth intellectually, volitionally and emotionally, thereby giving you honor. Amen.”