Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
Football is a contact sport. It’s a tough game. There are 15 times as many injuries in football as in bowling or tennis, ten times as many as in gymnastics. Football players get hurt. That’s why there is always an injury report for each team listed in the newspaper or on line.
But, you know, life is a contact sport. Life is tough. You can’t get in the game and play your position for very long without receiving some hard hits from your opposition. If you want to keep your uniform clean and neat don’t go in the fame. When you are playing your best you’ll get dirty, you’ll get hit. You’ll get scars and limps. Life is full of pain and suffering, of injustice and rejection, of fear and disappointment. The more we try to be like Jesus the more the enemy will attack us. He can’t get at Jesus so he takes it out on us.
Many Christians solve that problem by getting out of the game and watching from the sidelines. They’ve discovered they don’t get dirty, they don’t get hit when they aren’t suited up and playing their hardest. They give in to the intimidation of the enemy.
So why doesn’t God protect His people from the contact and tackles of the enemy? He Himself wasn’t immune and we are certainly no better than Him. Plus, God allows them at a means of strengthening us. They become opportunities to get stronger, to trust God and obey Him. When we get to heaven there won’t be any more hits, but in this life they are our way of standing for Him and showing the world by our example all He can do for a person.
God allows us to get knocked down some times to help us get our eyes back on Him (Hebrews 12:5-11). Even the dirty cheap shots the enemy takes at God’s children are used for God’s glory and our growth. Job is an example of that. Hosea and Paul are examples of those who took some major hits for God’s cause.
So put on your uniform, get in the game and take your hits. The game isn’t as long as you think – there’s less time than we realize. Soon the whistle will blow and that will be it. Then we’ll enjoy the fruits of victory for all eternity. But now its time to get tough! And if you ever think the game is too hard, remember Jesus. He took the really bit hits on the cross for us. What we face is nothing compared to Him. He got tough for you – can you get tough for Him?
2 Corinthians 1:8-9, “Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be ignorant about the suffering we experienced in the province of Asia. It was so extreme that it was beyond our ability to endure. We even wondered if we could go on living. In fact, we still feel as if we’re under a death sentence. But we suffered so that we would stop trusting ourselves and learn to trust God, who brings the dead back to life.”
James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
1 Peter 4:19, “Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
John 15:2, “Every branch that bears fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
Romans 8:28, “All things work together for Good for the benefit of those who love Him.”
1 Peter 4:16, “If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed but praise God that you bear that name.”
- What is your attitude to the things in life that are hard, unfair, or painful? Do you resent them and feel sorry for yourself, assuming God should make you exempt from them?
- What can you do to help a friend going through a hard time? What can you do today?
- Take a moment and write out a plan of how you should approach the difficulty you are currently facing.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on February 1, 2009