Friday, May 23, 2008

Come on, Coach

Behold your God - Part 7

May means one thing in our is here. (Yes, I know it's not the fall. Don't get me started.) That means it won't be long until a tradition begins around the Republic of Texas. Men who can still recall the feel of leather in their hands (or at least wish they had) will stand around the fringes of practice, picking it all apart. They'll take it to a whole 'nother level come game day when I and my girls will be treated to variations on the What-In-The-World-Were-You-Thinking refrain. As in: Come on, coach. A pass play on 4th and short? Or it's twin: Come on, coach. Running it on 4th and short? Everyone knew that was coming.

I'm usually pretty good about it. No, really. I am. (Okay...I get a thrill out of the Brett Farve commercial where he's telling everyone how to do their jobs, but I've never seriously injured anyone...that they know of...or can prove...) Truth is, I'm probably one of the worst, though decidedly less vocal about it given that I'm sitting with all the other coaches' wives in the stands. That's their husband and daddy I'm fuming at after all. I only get really bent out of shape when they do one of two things. Either they make it personal by cussing or yelling insults, or they start to question the coaches' commitment to doing what is best. With the first one, I usually just ask them to tone it down. But when my husband has been gone from us for 64 nights in a row, hasn't eaten dinner with us since July and hasn't made it to a single activity for his girls so that he could be with their kids and they question his commitment...well, that's when I tend to come unglued. Patty assured me yesterday that not everything I'm yelling in my head usually makes it out, but I'm sure too much of it does.

It's usually during those arrogant, I-know-everything moments when God interrupts with a jolt in my brain. My attitude toward the coaches is not much different than I can have toward God. I agree with what He does when His choices match mine. I doubt that He knows what He's doing when things go differently. That's because I have goals for myself and those I love...well, even those I don't even know. Maria Chapman, 5 yr. old daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman, died Wednesday. Killed in her driveway after coming home from celebrating her big sister's engagement...getting ready to go to her big brother's graduation party. Come on, coach. Is this really the best you've got?

The questions run deep because, as we've seen, God is all powerful...and God loves us, cares for us as a tender Shepherd over His people. Put those together and we have a God who has goals for us that are for our good, that give us a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11 And that God has all power in His hand to accomplish whatever He desires. Psalm 135:6 So, what we get in our lives is what He most deeply desires for us. Which leads us to ask...God is powerful and caring, but does He know best what to do with both? Can we trust His decisions?

Behold His Knowledge & Wisdom
Because make no mistake, the Lord our God is adamant that we understand that knowledge and wisdom and understanding are His...Is. 40:13-14...

Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD,
or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?

J. I. Packer puts it so well in his book, Knowing God: Wisdom is the power to see and the inclination to choose the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. God is never other than wise in anything that He does. (pg. 91)

The best and the highest goal. That's not usually mine at the moment, especially when I am suffering, lost in grief, racked by pain...but it is always God's. What that means for us is that we need an attitude shift. So often, we sit in judgment on God, testing His ways without the measure of His character in our minds. We trust our own judgment so completely that it is our measure against God. Why can't He see it our way? How could this possibly be good? Why didn't He stop it? Questions like this, Packer says, can lead us to despair for we are never meant to see from His perspective. Isaiah 40 puts it like this in verse 28...his understanding is unsearchable. Not that we can't know some of what He intends, for much is made clear, but we will never reach the end of His wisdom to know what He knows.

So, what do we do in the meantime? Packer puts it well...take it as from God. Know that it is He who has you and is upholding you in all things. Molly Piper put it so well yesterday. She likened the Chapman's pain to being hit by a tidal wave, but said at the end...I’m not trying to be pessimistic or say that God is not there. He’s the tidal wave and he’s the light at the top and he’s the fresh, cold air that their lungs will scream for.

Remember who it is that moves in your life. Remember His character. Remember His care. Remember the cross when you are tempted to deny either. Remember His goals. And trust Him. By a grace we will never deserve, He has committed Himself to you. He will see it through. Listen to Him...

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you...
Isaiah 43:1-4

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