“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”I Peter 5:10-11
I was a chubby seventh grader with a high opinion of myself. I did not see my fat, but rather saw myself for who I was a couple of years prior. I started out a small skinny kid (if you can imagine that), but the home cooking was good and my discipline was not the greatest. My mom signed me up for soccer though a local church who sponsored sports teams. I was excited to play, and naturally thought I had the advantage due to my years of playing and because soccer was in my blood.
I showed up at the first practice excited to show my stuff. I fantasized that the coach would ask me to put on a clinic for the other players and award me a starting position. I quickly realized the kids were older, in better shape, and at a higher skill level than what I was accustomed to. My head coach took shots at me, and I naturally rebelled against him. I would say “yes sir” to irritate him, and he would retaliate by putting me on the skins team, so I would have to take off my shirt. Taking off my shirt was not what I had envisioned when I said I was going to show my stuff. He made fun of how slow I was, and it only motivated me to try even harder. He purposely purchased game shorts for me that were too small, and he laughed when he gave them to me.
The season was soon to start and my shorts still did not fit. There was an assistant coach who looked out for me, and he was upset about what the head coach had done. He was chubbier than I was and understood that the struggle was real. He motivated me to run extra sprints and to give it my all even though I still sometimes indulged in Pete’s Fish and Chips. I felt like I was going to die as I ran sprint after sprint, but they seemed to get easier as the weeks went by. I did not get much faster, but my will grew strong and my stamina began to increase. My head coach still did not care for me, and he made me run every time I said, “Yes sir!” The assistant coach would wink at me as I ran hard during those times, trying to fit into those tight royal blue shorts.
Our first game came and it was the moment of truth. I pulled out my game shorts and they actually fit! My chubby thighs were exposed, but I still beamed with the biggest smile and was excited to warm up. Although I did not play that day, or really much at all that season, I got better and I looked good in my shorts. The sprints, long practices, and ridicule just served to make me stronger, and I smiled from ear to ear in our team picture.
The Christian life is sometimes this way as we go through things that seem unfair and unjust. The trials seem long and hard and there is but a faint light at the end of the tunnel. God uses these times to shape in His image for His glory. He wants to perfect us, establish and strengthen us. He wants us to fit into those blue shorts of His image and all that He allows in our lives – good and bad – is for His glory and honor. The hardships of life may seem pointless and never-ending but there is always a purpose and a plan. God makes no mistakes, and He is never caught off guard.
Are you able to see past the trials of today and see the bigger picture of God’s glory? Does life always seem to be unfair? Are you bitter at what He has allowed for you, or do you trust in His plan? Life is but a vapor and will soon pass, and we will have all eternity to give Him glory. May we trust in His plan, and may we always remember, to God be the glory!