The Payoff for Choosing Obedience to God
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we think that it is in our best interest to reject God's ways and look out for our own interests. In those moments, we feel that choosing obedience to God's Word will result in a bad outcome, so we follow our instincts and look out for self.
I want to remind our readers that there are still a multitude of blessings found in obedience to God. Sadly we see too few examples of people who take the risk of going God's way and see Him show up in a big way. That's not because He doesn't work, but mainly because we rarely trust that He will show up. We "yeah, but" our way to doing our own thing. "God tells me to endure in my marriage to this difficult man? Yeah, but my situation is unique."
Today, I wanted to share a great story that illustrates the kind of ways our God wants to show Himself to be GREAT in our lives.
Some good friends from out of state sent us an article from their city's newspaper about how their son had just led his school's golf team to a top three finish in the state championship. The article focused mainly on how he wasn't allowed to play with the team the previous year and what a big showing he had at this year's tournament.
It turns out that there was some emotionally-charged infighting within the team the year before, with parents and coaches getting pretty heated about who should be on the varsity team. Our friends - a family of devoted Christ-followers - shared with us that they were very tempted to go toe-to-toe in defense of their son, arguing for his right to be on the team. Instead, they let it go, not wanting to tarnish their witness.
So as the newspaper article focused on how awesome their son did (and the mystery of why this kid wasn't on the varsity team the previous year), our friends sent us the following note, giving us the "behind the scenes" story of what really happened. I think you'll find it very inspiring. (I have changed the names to insulate the continuing relationships that our friends are trying to nurture within the team.)
Here's what the mother of the golfer sent to us...
When you read the article about Michael, here’s how it would have appeared in the Jesus Freak Times:
Proverbs 20:22 “Do not say I will pay you back for this wrong. Wait for the Lord and He will deliver you.”
Two years ago, Cloud was left out of the top five team spots for a chance to play at the state tournament. Satan tried to split the team apart with selfish and bitter fighting, threats, and manipulation during the selection process.
Several of the team parents believed Cloud was ripped off. Two of the dads, argued strongly for his case in a heated argument with the coach. His own dad simply told the coach that he thought a mistake had been made, but didn’t make threats or try to bully to secure a spot for his son as some of the other fathers had done.
Michael was devastated; his spirit and his confidence in leadership were crushed. His mother was filled with rage and had several venomous words on the tip of her tongue, just waiting to escape.
The Lord told Michael’s mom to keep her mouth shut and pray. Night after night, Michael’s mom prayed for the anger to subside. She prayed for each of the team members and each of the parents by name, asking God to bless them and bring good things into their lives. In her flesh, she wanted to spew destructive words, but she held onto the Lord’s promise that He would be glorified if she and her family would pray instead of acting in anger.
The team went to state without Michael being allowed to play and bombed out terribly. No individual scored well; the team scored horribly as a whole.
Shortly thereafter, the captain’s father was diagnosed with cancer. This was one of the families who had bullied and threatened to get their way. This was one of the families who Satan tempted Michael’s mom to rip apart with venomous words of anger.
By God’s grace, the Cloud family was able to act in love toward this family. The Cloud family was also able to continue to invite the family to church and minister to them during their suffering. Before the golf team captain’s father died, he asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. The captain prayed the same for his own life. Had the Cloud family given into the desire to react with vindictive words, they would have tarnished the name of Christ and possibly missed out on being part of the Lord’s plan of salvation for this family.
This year, everything that was taken from Michael was restored—with even more (hints of Job here). Not only did he get to go to state, but he was the leading and best scorer for his team—making it possible for them to bring home the first team medal in school history. His diligence in pushing on, despite being left out last time, was actually the lead paragraph in the summary article in the city paper. The entire article ended up being primarily about him. The entire community is talking about him. What Satan meant for evil, God used for good.
The bigger story behind the story is that God gets the last laugh. The team wasn’t ripped apart in spite of Satan’s plan to divide the relationships two years ago. Jesus conquered, and the father who passed away is now in heaven. During the death of the captain’s father, the boys grew in love and faithfulness to one another. Michael’s crushed dreams turned into a better ending to his golf career than he could have ever imagined. All because God is able to deliver us from the enemy’s snare if we will just follow him and trust in his plan instead of ours.
Never underestimate our King who holds all things in the palm of His hand!!!
Pretty cool, huh?
So if you are in the middle of a challenging situation with your spouse or your child and you think that the time has finally arrived for you to reject what God is telling you to do and start doing what YOU want to do, I encourage you to hang on a little longer. Continue to pray for God to work...particularly on you. He is not near as interested in your comfort as He is in your obedience.
In His time, He will change things for the good.