This Sunday, February 2, 2014, millions will be gathered around their big screen TV’s, snacks and beverages abounding, team colors proudly worn and/or displayed, the year’s supposedly best and most expensive commercials on queue, winner bets confidently placed, and each side poised to cheer their team on to victory. All for the game of all games. The Superbowl!
I grew up in a football fanatic family with my father and two brothers glued to the TV for endless weekends of non-stop football. I quickly learned it was an all-engrossing activity, to the point that one weekend I came home from college, went downstairs to say hello, received a quick nod of acknowledgment, and three hours later my father emerged from the game pit to declare, “Oh hi Jenny! When did you get home?” Some times I would sit and watch with them, trying to learn and understand what all the cheering, shouting and excitement was about. What a quarterback, halfback, and fullback did. The difference between the offense and defense and what a “down” was, and why it was so important that no one fumbled the ball or botched a touchdown catch, especially when the game was tied and they were in the last two minutes of the 4th quarter. I’m still not sure I totally understand what a scrimmage and blitz are but I do know why a good coach and “game plan” are so crucial to have a winning team.
You’ve probably seen a football game plan drawing like the picture above, and perhaps like me, can not make heads or tails of all the X’s and O’s and arrows. But I know that the coach carefully draws up a strategic game plan knowing each player’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opposing team’s. He then uses it to coach his team throughout the game giving them a play-by- play plan they can follow. The team trusts the coach’s plan and does their best to carry out the plan, in hopes of defeating their opponent and claiming victory!
Jeremiah 29:11 reminds me of a coach and his game plan.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I’ve often had people ask me how I know what God wants me to do and what His plan is for my life. I tell them that I just keep going to “The Coach,” God, and ask HIM what the plan is. HE HAS THE PLAN. He created the plan loving and knowing me intricately! (Psalm 139:13 – “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”) I don’t need to figure out the plan. He’s already got it all figured out! (Do you know how freeing that is?) And HIS PLAN IS PERFECT, one to not harm me but to give me hope and a future. And like the football team trusts their coach, how much more I can trust God, THE coach; who created me, loves me unconditionally and wants me to live life full of His promise, hope, and purpose, and who is infallible and victorious. (Even when I feel like the plan is crazy or doesn’t make sense. Which has been frequent throughout my life.)
Each morning I go to The Coach, God, and ask Him what His plans are for the day. Knowing how much He cherishes me and delights in a relationship that trusts Him, believing His ways are so much better than mine; I surrender my will to His, my plans to His, and then REST in the truth that He will bring His plans to fruition as I follow His lead. He often shows me the “game plan” through His Word, the Bible. Here are some of my favorite go to verses, when I am seeking God’s next steps in my life.
Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
Psalm 119:35 – Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
Psalm 143: 8 – Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:10 – Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps. Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Now there’s a huge caveat to all this. You have to KNOW the Coach, TRUST the Coach, LISTEN to the Coach, and DO WHAT the Coach TELLS YOU TO DO. You can have the best coach in the world, but if you don’t do these things, you are setting yourself up for failure.
I have experienced both in my life. The times I trust God and His plans, I see Him open and close doors to masterfully guide me through difficult decisions; give me perfect, timely guidance through what He directs me to read in His Word; connect me with others who encourage me and help me see things from a different perspective; give me patience to wait and trust in HIS timing; give me strength through life’s most trying situations; and bless me with miraculous provision and opportunities! When I don’t consult Him, but instead go with my own strength, logic, reason and understanding, or what I think is a good plan; I often run into brick walls, give in to anger and frustration, become depressed, want to quit and experience defeat.
It’s our choice. Go to The Coach and trust HIS plan, or go it on our own and precariously fumble our way through life, wishing for the best. As for me. I’m sticking with THE Coach. He has a great track record and winning history in my life!
With immense gratitude- staying on HIS team, for His glory!
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