WORDS FROM W.W. August 31, 2012
“And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’” (Luke 18:3, NIV)
Recently I was on the sidelines for a game that my middle school football team was playing. This year we have fifty boys on the seventh grade team, and, as I stated in an earlier posting, I made the decision to dress all the players for our games. We needed an extended bus to get them all to the field!
One boy, who I will call Sonny, is not a very good player, but he is a persistent player! He persistently followed me up and down the sideline the whole game. His persistent following was accompanied by persistent talking. It would sound something like this:
“Coach, do you want me to play outside linebacker next time?”
“Coach, I can go in.”
“Coach, I can play inside linebacker.”
“Coach, if is okay if I go in the next time we’re on defense?”
“Coach, I’m right here whenever you need me.”
He was driving me crazy! I would have to call out the names of other boys on the team- “Wilson…Wilson…Wilson…go in for Jones at safety.” But I never had to yell for Sonny…because Sonny was always there.
Finally I gave in! “Sonny, go in for Smith at Outside Linebacker.” I got a few moments of peace and quiet for the couple of plays that Sonny was in.
I admired his persistence even though it was a little irritating.
Contrast that with a recent basketball officiating assignment I had at the fitness center less than a mile from our house. I’ve been blowing the whistle there about two nights each month during this basketball off-season. The league that I officiate for I refer to in less than affectionate terms as The Adult Whiners League.”
There are a number of really good guys in the league, but there are also the ones that I would like to post pictures of on the post office wall. Some of them used to be great players…emphasize used to be! They still remember what their bodies have long forgotten. They still dream of the slam dunk they had in high school as they now stay earth-bound.
And guess what? They bring their level of play down to an even lower notch with consistent whining. Whereas a persistent twelve year old football player can get me to give in, a thirty-five year old overweight balding man in Nike shoes and slumping tattoos, does not get my sympathy. In fact, at best he gets a deaf ear, and at worst my two hands coming together in the shape of the letter “t”.
I thought about the contrast this week. When we pray do we whine to God about the unfairness of life, or do you beseech his mercy?
When we pray do we demand that he see it our way, or do ask him to help us in the midst of a difficult period in our life?
Persistently praying or consistently whining?