I often use my experiences as a PE teacher as examples in my talks. This week, I had a good illustration from a Year 8 football fixture and a subsequent conversation.
I have a strong Year 8 team who have been successful in their season so far. We were playing a school from Sudbury, of whom we had no prior knowledge. I picked my strongest team and the most suitable formation. Just before kick- off, their teacher said, “I hope you have a B team as we are not very good” This somewhat spoilt the atmosphere as we were fully prepared to be challenged. Sure enough we were 1-0 up after less than 40 seconds and 3-0 up after a few short minutes. The substitutes were all used, and everybody got a good run out. The game finished 12-0.
After the match my colleagues asked how we got on. My response was it was a bit of a waste of time. Surely 12-0 is a success? The fact that everybody played a good section of the game is also a big positive. Despite these factors, it still felt unsatisfactory. I cannot learn much about my players when the opposition is not up to standard. They are not able to learn and develop unless they are properly challenged. At youth level, I think players learn more through defeat than they do victory.
This brings me to the conversation. I was driving home with my son; we were talking about God and the world we live in. He made an interesting observation about humans. We are clever, but not too clever. It seems to be a perfect balance! If we want something, we have to work at it. To achieve, we have to sacrifice and dedicate time and effort. Life involves responsibility and discipline. Being a sports person or musician doesn’t just happen. There is a pattern and a natural resistance in life that seems to enable us to grow in rightful ways. A hard- fought game is always more satisfying!
As we walk with God in our Christian lives, it is good to be aware of the way things are designed. With this knowledge, we can face our challenges without fear or guilt. Rather, we can accept it is the way God has made it in order that we learn to walk in step with Him.
Which part of your life offers the greatest challenges at present? What is it about this area that creates the challenge? When we begin to answer these questions, it allows us to see things differently. In James 1 we are told that we can consider it pure joy to face trials of many kinds. A challenging thought indeed. Perhaps we must allow ourselves to see things from God’s perspective.