I have always had a deep appreciation for healthy competitive sports. And if I’m in the game, an actual participant (not just an enthusiastic observer along the sidelines or in the stands), my favorite kind of sport is one where I can mentally predict how to read my opponent so that I can strategize and execute my best plan.
So my two personal competitive sports (and I played both co-ed) were volleyball and racquetball. I had the most phenomenal coaches and mentors — that’s largely what made the difference. Strong leadership and my willingness to go there and do the work. Here’s a fun fact for you: my racquetball coach was Pete Zamperini (the older brother of Louis Zamperini, of whom the movie “Unbroken” was written).
In major American sports — football, basketball, racquetball, volleyball, track and field (just to name a few) — I enjoy the thrill of the strategy to win. Some of the men in our family are amazed that I have such an understanding of football strategies, that they’re comfortable having me around in the same room during football season.
It’s the ability to anticipate and predict that I relish.
But how do you react when the unthinkable happens? When you suddenly utter, “I didn’t see that coming!” … how do you account for those moments? Or when the opposing team pivots and overtakes your (favored) team in those final moments of the game. How do you explain that?
There are far too many times that I can recall having scratched my head and thought, “I never in a million years would have suspected that could happen!” The curve balls of life and the unexpected occurrences can leave a heaping mess on the floor when it’s all said and done. And it takes incredible energy to mop it up and recover.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 ESV
Even the best strategies and mapped out plans can be overturned by the Will of GOD. You may have thought that you’ve nailed something only to discover that The Lord had already orchestrated an outcome that might look entirely different from what you had imagined to be the best solution.
That’s not to say that your obedience was amiss. Or that you sinned and GOD is now punishing you for your mistake. Or even that you misheard what His Word spoke to your heart. It’s simply to say that GOD had something else in mind. Period.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
As much as we want to have the control — yes, like the remote — we have to remember that surrendering to the Will of GOD gives us the grace and strength to get through to the other side. GOD is our game changer — at least, that’s our human perspective of it. He had it orchestrated long before the tornado of events touched down in our sphere.
What we actually need is a refocus — back onto His Plan. That requires us to listen and act on his calls on a matter.
It is often said that the best defense is a strong offense. So if you’re set up for success, trained up and strengthened for the work against the opposition, it doesn’t matter how hard you get hit, you’ll be ready for it. It won’t matter if they strike at unexpected times or smack you in those weaker spots — you’ll be up for the fight and you will prevail because you’ve done the work in the preparation.
The same can be said of your walk with the Lord and staying the course. We don’t always know what lies beyond that next step — but we take it anyway (that’s called faith) and we do it because we have the strength of GOD poured into us from the Holy Spirit Who dwells within us. The Spirit of GOD is the power behind our moves. He leads, protects, teaches, corrects — all of that. Like those offensive coordinators in the crow’s nest giving the best strategies to the players on the field. They can see what is happening from an aerial view and give their best recommendation for a great play. Having the Holy Spirit far outweighs the best strategies of an offensive line coordinator — because He is GOD, He knows exactly what must be done and knows the outcome ahead of our engagement.
So as we take this step of faith onto the field of a new year, are we going in with a strong offense? Are we built up and strengthened by the Word of GOD and filled with the power of The Holy Spirit? Are we ready to tackle the strategies of the devil with the wisdom and understanding from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies?
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:11-13 NIV
More than just a game of great strategies and foresight. The battle field that we war in involves the Spirit — because of Whose we are. So the training ground involves tenacious pursuit of strength — GOD’s Strength, not that of ourselves. The greatest victories are those in the unseen realm, Sister. So we load up on the Word of GOD and train by staying the course and following the lead of The Holy Spirit. Focusing on His Word, reading it, studying it, hearing it, writing it, memorizing it, examining it, applying it, searching it out — these are the places where our Lord will speak strength into our souls and ready us for what comes. His Strength and Power is found in daily walking with Him.
How will you walk into this new year? Are you prepared for whatever comes your way? Do you know Who you will look to when things roll out in a way you didn’t expect?
We didn’t think 2020 would unfold the way it did either.
The Lord of Hosts wants to be your Game Changer. He wants you to succeed and be victorious in this new season. Jesus is not indifferent to your needs. He is the difference.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary