The Game of Recovery (Proverbs 3:6)
The game of bridge has unusual terms exclusive to it. A round takes two games (legs) to win. A successful low bid adds a leg on the score sheet, a partial game. If the opponent wins a game before you complete your second leg, a line is drawn on the score sheet, and the partial game is forfeited. That’s called “cutting off your leg.”
Beginning bridge player Glenna often heard the strange expression, “We cut off your leg.” When she kept score and drew the line below a completed game, she saw a part score forfeited.
“Now I get it. It just clicked.”
Divorce recovery is like bridge. Expressions repeatedly heard in recovery books and classes finally click. “This too shall pass.” “Seek supportive friends.” “Live better, not bitter.”
These and other good expressions, tools of truth, are often repeated. Coping statements help us out of despair into a better life. There has been too much loss and pain—too much to face. The need to quit feeling awful is strong, so we grab tools because life was hard, then it got harder.
Christian living for singles has a similar pattern. Planting simple truths in our minds trains us to become comfortable with who we are. “Give thanks for all things.” “Jesus loves and comforts.” “Fear not, I am with you.”
With a new life of recovery from divorce, Christian living emerges and hope takes root. We go from victim to victorious acceptance.
In the game of life, as in the game of bridge, we need two legs—ours and God’s—to complete the game and win. As we join with Jesus and become one body, we win. Click. No opponent can ever cut off our leg again.
Taken from Fulfilled
Faith for the Future
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
If “all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus],” then to trust him now in the present is to believe that his promises will come true.
Those are not two separate faiths — trusting him, and believing in his promises. Believing in Jesus means believing that he keeps his word. Being satisfied in the crucified and risen Jesus now includes the belief that at every future moment, to all eternity, nothing will separate us from his love, or keep him from working all things together for good.
Putting it all together, I would say that the spiritual beauty we need to embrace is the beauty of God that will be there for us in the future, certified for us by the glorious grace of the past.
We need to taste now the spiritual beauty of God in all his past achievements — especially the death and resurrection of Christ for our sins — and in all his promises. Our confidence and trust must be in all that God himself will be for us in the next moment, and in the next month, and in the endless ages of eternity — “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
It is he and he alone who will satisfy the soul in the future. And it is the future that has to be secured and satisfied with spiritual riches of glory, if we are to live the radical Christian lives that Christ calls us to live here and now.
If our present enjoyment of Christ now — our present faith — does not have in it the Yes to all God’s promises, it will not embrace the power for radical service in the strength that God (in every future moment) will supply (1 Peter 4:11).
My prayer is that reflecting like this on the essence of faith will help us avoid superficial, oversimplified statements about believing the promises of God. It is a deep and wonderful thing.
Job is given a chance to respond to God, but he realizes his lack of understanding. God responds to Job’s epiphany.
Then Job replied to the Lord, “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”
Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.
“Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right? Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like his? All right, put on your glory and splendor, your honor and majesty. Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you.”
The book of Job presents four views of suffering. Satan’s view is that people believe in God only when they are prospering and not suffering. Job’s three friends—Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar—believe that suffering is God’s judgment for sin. This may be true at times, but not always. Elihu’s view is that suffering is God’s way to teach, discipline, and refine. This is true, but it is an incomplete explanation. God’s view is that suffering can cause us to trust him for who he is, not what he does.
Throughout his time of suffering, Job longed to have an opportunity to plead his innocence before God. Here God appeared to Job and gave him that opportunity. But Job decided to remain quiet because he no longer had the need to speak. God had shown Job that, as a limited human being, he had neither the ability to judge the God who created the universe nor the right to ask for God’s reasons.
God’s actions do not depend on ours. He will do what he knows is best, regardless of what we think is fair. Nonetheless, God came to Job and showed Job his love and care.
Does your view of suffering match what the book of Job reveals about God and his view? If not, what objections do you still have? If so, how can you trust God more, not only in the hardships but also in the easy times?
Streams in the Desert – June 12
In everything ye are enriched by him (1 Cor. 1:5).
Have you ever seen men and women whom some disaster drove to a great act of prayer, and by and by the disaster was forgotten, but the sweetness of religion remained and warmed their souls?
So have I seen a storm in later spring; and all was black, save where the lightning tore the cloud with thundering rent.
The winds blew and the rains fell, as though heaven had opened its windows. What a devastation there was! Not a spider’s web that was out of doors escaped the storm, which tore up even the strong-branched oak.
But ere long the lightning had gone by, the thunder was spent and silent, the rain was over, the western wind came up with its sweet breath, the clouds were chased away, and the retreating storm threw a scarf of rainbows over her fair shoulders and resplendent neck, and looked back and smiled, and so withdrew and passed out of sight.
But for weeks long the fields held up their bands full of ambrosial flowers, and all the summer through the grass was greener, the brooks were fuller, and the trees cast a more umbrageous shade, because the storm passed by–though all the rest of the earth had long ago forgotten the storm, its rainbows and its rain.
God may not give us an easy journey to the Promised Land, but He will give us a safe one.
It was a storm that occasioned the discovery of the gold mines of India. Hath not a storm driven some to the discovery of the richer mines of the love of God in Christ?
Is it raining, little flower?
Be glad of rain;
Too much sun would wither thee;
‘Twill shine again.
The clouds are very black, ’tis true;
But just behind them shines the blue.
Art thou weary, tender heart?
Be glad of pain:
In sorrow sweetest virtues grow,
As flowers in rain.
God watches, and thou wilt have sun,
When clouds their perfect work have done.