“Prayer and Waiting is NOT what I signed up for.” We were walking out of Bible Study Fellowship and I needed to get on with my workday, but I knew this statement was headed somewhere fast.
“I mean, I’ve been praying and waiting for things to change for months now. What if I never get the house of my dreams? What if we don’t get to retire when we planned? I REFUSE to live in a house that isn’t up to my standards and for that to happen things need to go a certain way.”
I was having a hard time figuring out a response. With eight moves under our belt, the most recent three months ago I’ve yet to choose a house based on anything other than proximity to the football field, the current needs for our family, and affordability. I’ve never selected a community to live in based on a dream location or even a preferred one. And while I’ve heard rumors that coaches retire I’ve never actually one.
“Oh, you don’t get it.”
“Well, you’re right,” I responded. “I don’t, because I chose to marry a football coach that meant saying no to a lot of other things. But can I ask you something? Didn’t our teacher say that Acts 1:8 is our primary calling?” My friend agreed she had heard the same point. I asked why she was so upset with the encouragement to wait and pray on God’s guidance and then she said something that left us laughing hysterically.
“Because I just know it’s my luck that while everyone else will get to go travel the world I’ll be stuck right here in the middle of a cornfield.”
Acts 1:8 says “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
This was Jesus’ encouragement and charge to the disciples as he was preparing them for his final separation from them and nothing has changed for today’s believers. It doesn’t matter what job we choose, where we live, how many children we have. Married, single, any age, the call is the same. Tell people about Jesus.
Thankfully, Jesus spent three years living his life transparently with the disciples and four disciples wrote about their experiences. Even today we have a lot of information to study as we figure out how to best show people Jesus’ character in contrast to spiritual teachers of the time.
Jesus was such an excellent leader that many coaches build programs that highlight principles for living based on his character. They use athletics to teach teamwork, serving teammates, integrity, perseverance, sacrifice, and respect for everyone. All characteristics Jesus lived out.
In our coaching journey, there have been amazing opportunities for my husband to tell people about Jesus and to use the challenges of football to encourage players to sharpen their characteristics to look more like Jesus.
This calling is a good and hard one. It involves compromise that often means we live far from family, don’t earn an ideal salary, and don’t live in our preferred locations. Still, there is rarely a month that goes by without a reminder that Coach has made an impact through the years.
But it has often left me wondering. Have I considered the opportunities I have to also model Jesus’ character? As wives, we are often on the sidelines, in the background, or taking care of the home team. How does that reflect Jesus?
In John 13:1-17 we read a surprising story, especially when we consider the time period. Jesus is eating with the disciples and after the meal, he chooses to wash everyone’s feet.
Jesus didn’t care that he was the leader of the group or that it was the job of servants to wash feet. More than that, he didn’t take short cuts John 13:4-5 says “so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
Jesus did every part of the feet washing from preparation to cleaning and when Peter tried to stop him Jesus explained that this was necessary. He didn’t complain and he didn’t make a show about announcing what he was about to do or ask for help. He simply got up from the table and began to serve his team.
There are so many moments when I’m exhausted during the season. I want to leave the dishes piled in the sink or ignore the laundry because it’s not my clothes that are causing the need for additional loads. But the reality is that Jesus teaches us that even these tasks have the ability to reflect his character when we focus our hearts on the big picture. Tell people about Jesus.
Are you wondering why my friend and I found her commentary about the cornfields so hysterical? On the other side of that particular field is a highway and just across from there is Target, a mall and every restaurant you can hope to eat at, so when my friend announced how tragic her life would be to stay home rather than travel to the unknown she was focusing on the few feet in front of her and discounting the reality of her community.
Every situation is different and there are certainly much harder places where praying and waiting exist.
- Job loss
- Cancer treatments
- False accusations
As the reality sunk in embarrassment rose to laughter. God calls us to challenging situations, and those are often where we see the most personal growth. But this growth won’t happen if we are so focused on the small hurdle in front of us we refuse to consider that our way is not God’s best plan for us.
Yes, hard seasons stink. However, James tells us to expect them. When we encounter a roadblock, why not pause to inquire whether it’s God interceding in the situation for an important reason? What if God is asking you to live out your primary calling just around the corner?