What You Have in Common with Olympic Athletes

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games finally begin today—July 24, 2021. The Opening Ceremony was last evening and the competition is now on-going. Better late than never! Pulling off this event has been quite the challenge and it includes numerous changes. The most glaring difference is that spectators have been banned from the games because of a Tokyo State of Emergency due to a Covid-19 protocol. That’s disappointing—and maybe a bit depressing. These superb athletes have waited a life-time to compete in this glorious event—and now it will be done in virtual silence. Much of the thrilling fanfare and in-person support will be missing. That’s not the way they envisioned it to be. So they will need to adjust to the changes and positively respond to the challenges. Some will probably do well and others not so…

This is maybe the one thing we have in common with these Olympic athletes. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we planned, nor does it work itself out the way we prayed. That’s true for even the best of people! So what do you do when things don’t turn out the way you thought they would? How do you respond when God doesn’t show up the way you thought He should? My advice is: Adjust and Trust.

Sometimes circumstances block our much-desired paths and prevent our well-intentioned plans. If we are going to move forward at all in life, we must decide to adjust our plans and trust the Lord. It’s that simple.

For example, on the Apostle Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey, he deeply desired to launch an aggressive mission thrust into Asia Minor beginning in the beautiful seaport city of Ephesus, the most important metropolitan city in the Mediterranean region, and then onto Bithynia, the wooded, fertile province on the shores of the Black Sea. From there Paul, with his companions, could travel by sea to Russia and then perhaps into China. But scripture says the Spirit of Jesus would not allow him to fulfill this burning desire. Instead, they “went down to Troas” (Acts 16:8). This was quite a comedown from what Paul had hoped and dreamed he could do. The journey to Troas took him down sparsely populated roads with no big cities and few small towns. There were no great evangelistic opportunities down this path. This must have been quite disappointing to Paul. But once in Troas, Paul received the Macedonian Call which changed the course of mission history. Paul didn’t quit when his plans were stopped. Instead he adjusted his plans and trusted the Lord who brought him westward into the region of Macedonia where he would see his most productive evangelistic efforts and greatest missionary victories.

What was true for Paul is true for us all. Life’s circumstances will force our plans to change and alter the course of our life. We must move beyond disappointments. Keep our eyes on Jesus and walk the paths He leads us. Our greatest triumphs may very well be just beyond our deepest disappointments. I promise you that there is no disappointment in your life for which God is not the answer. So Adjust & Trust!

Oh, and enjoy the Olympics on TV this week… 

Devotedly yours,

Pastor Ron

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