Not My First Rodeo

A few years ago, during one particular summer, it seemed like everywhere I turned there was yet another negative event taking me further into turmoil. Nothing seemed to be going right. To get some sort of relief, I thought it would be good to find some sort of distracting entertainment, so I went to a local rodeo one evening. Arriving early and having skipped lunch, I decided to take the long walk to the concession booth. The grandstands were covered, but the sidewalk along the edge of the arena was not. Just as I began to walk, the sky opened up with rain. Not just a light shower, not a passing drizzle, but a “pair-‘em-up-Noah-one-more-time” rain…hard, stinging and cold. Muddy water began to pour from the arena onto the sidewalk. It was only when my socks began to be soaked that I realized I had put off getting my cowboy boots resoled for much too long.

I stopped and stood there, drenched to the skin, water trickling into my boots, and stomach growling with hunger. I couldn’t help but think, “God, why are things so hard, and why don’t you just let my life be uneventful? At least then I wouldn’t expect anything.” Looking to the other end of the arena, I saw, through the downpour, the brightly-lit board where the scores and times for the various events would be shown later in the evening. As I watched, sandwiched between two local ads scrolling across the screen were these words: “ONLY THE MEDIOCRE ARE AT THEIR BEST 100% OF THE TIME.” I sighed, wiped the rain from my face, and sloshed on to get a hot dog.

God is committed to the process of making each of His children more like Him. God doesn’t leave us in mediocrity; He calls us to step out to Him and live a life that will lead us through dry times and times when the breakers crash against us.

Like the writer of Psalm 42, we go from drought conditions (“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God…”) to drowning despair (“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me”). God uses those times to strengthen our dependence upon and faith in Him. These are opportunities to know Him better than we could ever know Him before.

Comfort in adversity teaches more than comfort alone.

God never promised a life of ease, and He never promised that things would always turn the way we would prefer, but He did promise His presence. In the final verse of Psalm 42, we find these words, “Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him…”

Weather the storm knowing He is there, shaping you into His likeness, and you shall yet praise Him.

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