My natural fascination with human interest stories influenced how I watched the Olympic games.
One story in particular grabbed me in how it demonstrated a life lesson we all need to grapple with in our own lives.
I have no desire or intent to pass judgement on the two girls involved in my story, and while the story details are in the public knowledge domain, I will use only their first names.
Julia and Lindsey, have long been rival competitors in their chosen sport of downhill skiing, never moving toward friendship though they train together.
Finally on the day of one of their Olympic events, the two girls waited their turn on the mountain top; Julia slotted to ski immediately following Lindsey.
The weather conditions made the run treacherous and Lindsy became one of the victims of the steep course, crashing into the protective fencing, the medics racing to her side.
Julia was signaled to start her run, but then partly down the course she was flagged to stop because they had not yet untangled Lindsey from the mesh fence.
There was no way for Julia to get back up to the starting gate other than finishing her descent and then be returned to the starting gate by snow mobile.
Julia was understandably upset -- her concentration had been broken, she had now lost her assigned position to ski her run. The hill conditions would change before she got to ski, her postion moved down 13 spots.
Waiting at the bottom for the snow mobile, she verbally cursed her misfortune and the skier who had literally thrown a stumbling block in her quest for a medal.
She did not try to hide her emotional upset.... her resentful attitude evidenced in tears and ranting over the events that she had no control over.
That she had been given an advantage seemed to not enter her narrow focus. All the skiers had to ski the run without a practice run.... except for Julia. She had the advantage of a full practice run down allowing her to get a feel for the course and the effect of the weather upon it.
Back up at the top , finally able to ski her run, her run time was well below what had been expected of her. She did not ski worthy to win a spot on the podium, and she withdrew from the other race she was scheduled to ski in.
As I watched the story unfold, I thought of how I was watching a scenario that plays itself over and over again in our personal lives.
How often do our plans get upset - something outside of our control jars our emotions, and we are thrown off track or diverted from our path entirely.
I wonder.... how often does our attitude toward the unexpected in our life determine whether or not we will attain to God's best plans for us? Does our negative attitude cause us to miss the advantage God intended through the unexpected or even 'undesired' circumstances/events ?
How do we react when things happen that push our emotional default buttons ? How often do we like Julia rage and blame others - how often are we critical, defensive and self-focused?
How often do we waste our emotions on what we think we have lost..... instead of focusing on how God can/will use the twists in our path to our advantage?
As believers we say that we trust God to lead and guide us. We say we believe that all things work together for good. We say that we love and seek the good of others before our own.
But do we ? How do we react when God lays a 'test' in front of us....do we pass? do we fail?
When we are inconvenienced, or side tracked or bumped by an uncomfortable road block,do we think of what it means for someone else? Do we calmly ask God for new directions? and then humbly accept what He lays before us?
I have learned that God trains us in the little details so that when the real test comes we are exercised to trust and obey and face with a humble heart an unexpected challenge.
Some wise person once said... "I am not in control of what happens to me, but I am in control of how I react."
How often is it that in the inconveniences or the frustrating circumstances or the hindered plans that we have the greatest opportunity to rise above the occasion and show that we are not victims of our circumstances but rather use them to glorify the God whose name we cheer and wear on our heart and sleeve!
My challenge - for me and for you -- to use the little inconveniences of each day to exercise our hearts and minds to look for God in the unexpected... eager for His purposes.... instead of allowing our self-default to dictate our reactions.Let us all 'go for gold' !!
May we join in Paul's prayer, that we seek not our own righteousness, judging the circumstances of our life by our own standards but rather seek God's righteousness (right judging) in every annoying moment or distressing turn in our life path.
"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ,
but indeed I also count all things loss
for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and count them as rubbish,
that I may gain Christ and be found in Him,
not having my own righteousness ,
which is from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ
the righteousness which is from God by faith'
that I many know Him
and the power of His resurrection
and the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death."