Friday, October 26, 2018

Serving in Strength and Winning

There are days, months, seasons, or even eras when all is going well, the team is winning, we are enjoying favor widely, and all seems right with the world. These moments are even sweeter when they have been preceded by losing streaks, pain, or clumsy transitions. Such was the expression of the psalmist in Psalm 126.

When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,
    it was like a dream!
We were filled with laughter,
    and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
    “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
    What joy!

What joy, indeed! We can almost hear the laughter, the shouts of joy, and the music bumping in the locker room when reading these verses. The newspapers, television commentators, on-line sports outlets, and even social media is full of praise for our team. Those with perspective even give the Lord credit for having blessed the fruit of their labors.

After the immediate rush of emotions, we eventually calm down and begin to look ahead. The psalmist does similarly in the second half of Psalm 126.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
    will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
    but they sing as they return with the harvest.

With renewed perspective and a forward look, the psalmist seeks the Lord’s blessing for restoration. He reflects upon the recently completed and continual process of painful and occasionally grievous preparation, followed by joyful and bountiful harvest reaping.

Such is the process experienced by the men and women of sport. May we be a source of godly perspective for those we serve, even as we experience both the pain of preparation and loss as well as the joy of strength and winning with them.

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