Do I thank God – or give Him a good slap?

As a child in the playground, whoever brought the football got to pick who was “captain” of the opposing team.  And then the two “captains” would take turns to pick their teams from the gathered hopefuls.  Then the game would begin.  And in cases of dispute, whoever had brought the football had the final word.  The ultimate sanction was always to pick up their ball and stomp off.  No more football.

There was clarity in the playground – and not an adult in sight.

The best and worst bit was “the picking”.  How soon you were picked decided your place in the pecking order of popularity.  The longer it took, the lower down you were.  And as for being the very last one – the one who was “do I have to have him on my team?” – that was “social outcast” territory.  But different “captains” meant different pecking orders.  You could move from the top to the bottom (and vice versa) in the same day.  So a football was always on my birthday and Christmas List – then I could be the picker!  Which opened up another pecking order.  The one who brought the football quickly found out how popular they were by how many wanted to play football with their ball!

There was clarity in the playground!

“Now during those days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God.  And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.  He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon.  They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them. “ Luke 6:12-19

I came to this morning’s verses with no intention of doing anything (other than the minimum).  I am tired, empty, down in the dumps, feeling a little got-at, a little the victim of life right now.  It will pass – it always does.  But …

“FOR POWER CAME OUT OF HIM” got the GSHJ pyrotechnic-wow-show treatment this morning … “For power came OUT of Him.”  After a “night in prayer to God” Jesus should have been a little tired.  A little weary.  A little in need of sleep.  But here He is doing the picking of His football team.  The many disciples learning where they each stood in the pecking order that day!

How often I find myself wondering about where my place is.  Others seem “blessed”.  Others seem “chosen”.  Others seem to have a career path.  Others seem to have clarity.  I seem to be the last one picked so often.   The one who has to “try out” – only to find I don’t fit.  The one who yearns a little (is that a sin?) to be included.  Who wonders if “not fitting” is me – does God struggle with me – and do I listen to me not God – does God try and “use me” but find I prefer to do “it” my way.  That kind of wondering.

Like whether the unpicked apostles – the “ordinary disciples” – felt let down.  What was it about them that was “not good enough”.  The great “unnamed” of the bible – like me.  And I imagine seeing the “picked team” that day standing next to Jesus on that “flat plain”.   I imagine seeing the healing, the shoving pushing crowd, the noise, the wonder, the intimacy they had with Jesus.  And me watching it all from a distance.  An observer.  Not able to play.  Not on their team.  Social outcast territory stuff.  I wonder how they felt that day.  Inside.  Behind the outer smiles.

But that is just me today.

Tomorrow I will be the one who is picked again.  Tomorrow, I will have my mojo again, and tomorrow I will have “power” coming out of me again.  The rejuvenated and repowered me!  Except for one thing …  My recharged batteries come not through prayer but through sleep.  Not through communing – but through slumbering.

And as I sit here pondering what I have just written, I feel His power stirring within.  He always is (even when I think I am not enough to hear Him).   And He caresses me inside.  Behind my outer frown lines.

“Are you ready to leave your job, your home, your salary, your car, your “everything” that you have accumulated?”  And I look down at my toes.

“I don’t “need” you to walk away from everything in your life, Paul.  Your life is right here – where you and I live together.”  And I feel my burden lifting a little.

“You have my “football”.  You have your own “team to pick”.  All those hopefuls who wait to be picked – all those others I bring to you – you to them.  You have your own “football” every day.  Just as each of the unpicked “ordinary disciples” had their own football.  Have you ever wondered why I picked those twelve?

Have you ever considered that they would NEVER have believed themselves capable of their ”own football” – that they might NEVER have believed that of themselves?  And – I am not saying that is true (merely inviting you to see things from a different angle) – wouldn’t that mean you are (even more) powerful than the chosen “apostles” … ?

That ALL these “ordinary disciples” (both then and now today) have so much more “power within” than even the “apostles” – so much more greater “power” than you ever realise?”

(empty silent desert … dust devils whirling by … the full impact of those words slowly digesting … )

Well crap Lord!

I came here all tired and grumpy – and look at me now … !  Energised and rejuvenated and full of you again! Connected and ready to go.  And I haven’t even been up all night praying or anything – just sitting here feeling knackered!  Do I thank you or do I slap you?

“Whichever you prefer my little chickadee! Whichever you prefer … “

🙂

15 thoughts on “Do I thank God – or give Him a good slap?

  1. One of the big problems we have as Christians is that we compare ourselves to others, and wonder why the blessing of God is different. We complain that they are blessed more, or we boast because was are. Both ways are wrong.

    There is no place in God’s kingdom for comparison. We are each unique, and must learn to accept who we are, striving to serve Christ and be like Him, not like anyone else. When Peter asked Jesus what would happen to John, Jesus said “What is that to thee?” He says the same thing today. My relationship to Him is my utmost responsibility, and I must see to it that I never compare myself with others.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hiya Pete, and thank you for adding a great comment. You comment and that of saoirseandhope (below or above) are beginning to feel like one and the same. Yet something is nagging away and I cannot quite get hold of it.

      There is no place in God’s kingdom for comparison (you). Often we haven’t got a clue why He would pick us (saoirseandhope). Whichever you prefer my little chickadee! (I hope this counts as quote from our Father).

      Because one reality I have come up against recently is not comparison, nor being clueless – but having to prefer one way to another. My preference in my style of relationship with my God. I (hope) I am being taught that challenging “my relationship to Him” in myself and others is fine. So long as the challenge is an invitation and not a command. So long as the challenge meets each “where they are right now”. Not where they should or could be.

      Because the more I walk my own lovely meander, the more I see Him allowing each to do the same. And so I think we should “compare” – with one proviso. Not to find out the “pecking order – but to enjoy our diversity – to learn from each other – to unite with each other – to learn acceptance not just of our relationship with me and my God – but of His relationship with others and their God.

      Community and Unconditional Love.

      And I wonder if we can ever “learn that” without comparing ourselves to others – and in so doing finding our own personal “how not to do it wrong” preferences and reality.

      “Whichever you prefer my chickadee” is powerful – and maybe the essence of that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I see no problem with comparison the way you mention it. The problem comes when pride mixes in, and we say in our hearts “I’m glad I’m doing better than they are”. Or when we use others, by comparison, to justify our own faults. We always must remember that Christ is who we need to emulate, and follow after His example.

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  2. Oh, Paul, sometimes you bring out the biggest laugh in me – because you reflect exactly where I am or have been. And you seem to me to be so like the apostle Peter, particularly the way Mark portrays him (for he is taking dictation from Peter himself). Up one day, down the next, always questioning, feeling like a prat, yet always, always loving GSHJ and allowing that love to overflow onto others.

    Love you, dirt brother. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan, what a lovely comment! Thank you. It was a moment of “let me grumpy for a moment – please!!” 🙂

      I don’t think I have ever been an advocate of “finding God” means forever being balanced, happy, content, and joyful. That always sounds like unfair pressure to be something I am not (a lot). And I have found from personal experience – like here – that bringing all my “nothing” is so much more rewarding than hiding my “nothing” from GSHJ. I even think it s more loving – more respectful – in this relationship not to hide my “nothing” (like who am I kidding if I even try?).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Never have believed themselves capable of their own football” – yes, I believe you are onto something there Paul. Such a motley bunch they were – bad attitudes, pride, stinkin thinking as well as the passionate and devoted and yet, God chose them warts and all. He chooses the weak things of this world to shame the strong. We are priveleged to be His chosen people – part of His royal priesthood. Often we haven’t got a clue why He would pick us – but He does so with purpose. Our little loaves and fishes are helping someone somewhere at this very moment – we just have to keep on giving what we have to Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello “Faith and Hope”, thank you for you thoughts. Love the way you draw pictures so easily! And this “thought” was one never before in my head. Yet we seem to “celeb idol” the apostles. They were the “rock on which my church” was founded and all that. We could never be like them (we believe deep down). And if we do believe (deep down) are we guilty of “pride” – and merit a good slap from God for being so presumptuous! Catch 22. And fertile ground for complacency and comfort zones.

      And now you have my train of thought chugging along in a different direction!! Thank you!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love reading your train of thoughts – you take Bible verses and really chew them over – you don’t just skim read. There’s an old Delirious song called “King or Cripple” which , for me, sums up the dilemma you mention. You might find it on You-tube. “Why do You let us walk along a cliff so steep, when deep below us, there lies a bed of gold, and if this should be, our battle place, don’t let us fall, don’t let us fall”

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  4. Thank you sooooo much!! 🙂

    And thank you for that lyric … wow!!

    King or cripple what have I become?
    Beneath these kingly robes there lies a fragile man
    What made me a king can sometimes cripple
    All that you give can sometimes rob my innocence

    Why do you let us walk upon a cliff so steep
    When deep below the sea there lies a bed of gold
    And if this should be our battle place
    Don’t let me fall, don’t let us fall

    Keep me, keep me, keep me, keep me

    I love to hold the hand of one who healed the blind
    And saw the leper run into your arms of love
    King or cripple, they were the same to you
    You took the broken man and you treat him like a king

    Written by Martin Smith ©1997 Curious? Music UK

    (and the last two lines popped my brain cells for the simplicity in such a wonderful song!)

    “King or cripple, they were the same to you
    You took the broken man and you treat him like a king”

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