LET’S PRETEND

At the beginning of the game, nearly 41 years ago.

At the beginning of the game, nearly 41 years ago.

You remember playing that game, I’m sure.  Maybe you were a super hero and were able to leap tall buildings or travel faster than a speeding bullet.  We all had our games we played as kids and the good news is we still play, though not in the same way.  The game I’m going to teach you is one you already know, but it’s going to show you how to win every time.  The only rule going is you have to firmly implant into your thinking that God is love.  With that firmly planted and growing, you will always win my game.

     In this game we have helpers and adversaries and the goal is to get to the end without the adversaries capturing you.  Each player gets one super-charged helper that is able to hear you wherever you call from without 4g or any other electronic aid.  Your helper can see in the dark, is invincible to the adversaries’ powers and will help you, but you must request his help–he doesn’t just follow along in the game and help without invitation.

     Unfortunately, the adversaries have similar abilities as our helper and their goal is to tie you up, gag you and basically prevent you from getting to the end of the game.  So beware, the helper and the adversary are both around and you will win or lose by how you relate to each of them in the game.

The premise of our game is trust.  Without trust you will probably not win.  So here’s how the game goes.  You must pretend you are married, unless of course you are married.  Your spouse is going to go on an adventure to a place where there is no means of communicating with you and he/she will be gone for 2 months.  So you will be home, alone with the kids and responsibilities of keeping things together, while spouse is off on an adventure, a most-important adventure mind you or he/she would never leave you.  After all, spouse is going to miss you as much as you miss him/her.

     Just for convenience, I’m going to make Jackie, my spouse, be the one staying home and me, adventure boy, off some where.  On day one of me being gone, life rolls along just fine as it would even if I were nearby–maybe even better!  When Jackie goes to bed that first night, she’s going to know someone, like me that is, is supposed to be lying beside her.  I’ve been there for over 40 years so she knows there’s a difference.  She’s feeling kind of lonely and wondering how I am.  By the way, my destination was a Hill Tribe in Thailand that had to be hiked to after driving to the end of the road–about a 5-day hike.

     Life goes on for Jackie and after a week or so, she’s wondering what’s going on with me:  Am I safe; was I eaten by the natives; did I fall over a mountain cliff along the way?  She can get no answers so she has to trust that God is love and is taking good care of me.  If she

20 years into the game and going strong...

20 years into the game and going strong…

doesn’t, she will get really stressed out.  Only 7 weeks to go.

The village where we lived in Thailand was small and not near anything but a couple of neighbors who were seldom around.  On the second week, Jackie sees a man walking up the dirt road and he’s really funky looking.  In fact, he’s wearing a loin cloth, carrying a spear and looks to be about 10-feet tall from her perspective.  “Oh well, there’s lots of funky people walking around Thailand.”  But the man comes straight up to our house and begins pounding on the door.  The dog is barking like crazy, the youngest kid runs to the door to open it up and she is right behind him yelling, “STOP.”  All the noise inside only encourages the man to keep on pounding to get in and Jackie finally goes to the door and cries out, “What do you want?”

The man shouts he wants to come in and talk.  Is God love or not?  Can I trust Him?  Jackie is feeling a bit reluctant about unlocking the door, though truth is the man was indeed huge and could have pushed the door in if he so decided.  The man says again, “I want to come in and talk.  I have a message from your husband.”  “Oh my gosh,” thinks Jackie,  “is this true or is this an adversary trying to capture me?”  She would have felt much better about opening the door if the guy on the other side wasn’t carrying a spear and the size of an NFL football player.  After agonizing about this for a couple of minutes, she opened the door and let the man in.

The man introduced himself to her and said this:  “Bob is fine.  He’s in my village and I’ve walked here so you wouldn’t be worried about his well being.”  “Every two weeks one our tribesmen will walk here and bring you the news of how Bob is doing until it is time for him to come home.”  “I have a long walk back so I must be going.  Do you have any questions before I leave?”  Of course Jackie had plenty of questions and he didn’t get away until a full 2 hours had gone by.  And when the next messenger came two weeks later, she ran up the dirt road to greet him just as Bob ran to the returning tribesman to ask about Jackie.

About 30 years in this photo.

About 30 years in this photo.

And that’s the game.  You must be thinking, “That’s not a game.”  I learned about this game while reading THE MASTER’S INDWELLING by Andrew Murray.  In the context of my story, the gigantic spear-totting tribesman represents life’s adversaries, circumstances, trials, tribulations, the bad things that happen to us along the way to our final ending/beginning.  Things like when the plane crashed and you lose your family but you weren’t on it so you grieve for your loss and feel guilty for being alive; when the car won’t start; when your kid is sick; when you owe $100 and only have $1.00; when the bank takes your house away; when your best friend turns on you; when the milk has gone off and you didn’t notice until you had your bowl of cereal filled with it–and you can name a million others.

Is God love?  If He is, then that scary looking man is your friend and will bring about a better you when he’s come and gone.  When you come to the firm belief and faith that God is love, no trial, no circumstance no “tribesmen carrying a spear,” no nothing will beat you down.  You may stagger a bit, but you won’t be beaten down.  You might even have a doubt or two, but God IS love.  He has always been love–in the Old Testament and in the New.  And because He is love He is doing everything possible to make my world filled with Him.  Whatever it takes is His motto.  It took the death of His son, Jesus.  But He continues to love and forgive and to change us.  “All things work together for good…”  The good days when you go surfing and the dolphins swim alongside of you and on the days when the car won’t start and you can’t even get to the beach, all things are working for your good, if we truly believe that God is love.  If you think differently, you will go in circles and spiral down until you splat like a bug on the windshield of a fast  car.

Who’s our helper in the game? Your guardian angel of course, not to mention Jesus, “Who ever lives to pray” for YOU; the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth.  The adversary:  You guessed it, the devil and his demonic buddies.  Yes, they are real and they do all they can to beat you down.  “But we are more than conquerors in Christ” and our fate rests in the mighty hands of our God.  A friend of mine from our YWAM (Youth With A Mission) days, Paul Hawkins, taught our students this life quote to live by:

Your potential is in your will, and the will of God is your potential.” 

40 years into the game and heading home.

40 years into the game and heading home.

For those who love God, there are no limitations outside of what we will.  God won’t force us, but when we say “YES” to His ways and commands, nothing can beat us down.  God loves us, and by the definition of love, which means to always choose what is best for the other, I am confident that all that comes to me comes via the hand of God. He wants only to see His presence fill my all so that my all will be abounding with God’s joy, peace and righteousness.  Embrace the Tribesman, he has good news for you!

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