Links Daily Devotional

Cheers!

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (Psalm 73:2-3, NIV)

We all love to be fans. We love to cheer other people on. We see it in almost all sports—favorite players and teams.

Normally, we cheer for those whom we can identify with, admire, and at the very least, respect. Likewise, we will also root against those for whom we do not feel respect or admiration. We may disdain those who have “character flaws” or values that are different or worse than ours. Thus, many people did not want to see Tiger Woods do well on the golf course after his indiscretions came to light.

Why do we do this? Because we all have our own idea of how justice should be rendered.

Whether or not God cares about who wins in the same way we do, one thing I do know is that God cares about the heart and faith of those playing, and the heart and faith of those watching. He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). When we root against someone because they are not a believer and are “more sinful” than others, we impose our view of justice upon them and God.

I haven fallen into this temptation a lot over the years. Isn’t it natural to want good people to have good results? But there are two major problems with this natural or worldly reasoning. First, who are good people? Paul restated the psalmist when he told the Romans, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). Ranking others’ apparent holiness is an act based in pride or idolatry.

Second, if “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28), then how can we judge what is good or bad before the appointed time? When we judge in this way, we think ourselves better equipped to hand out justice than God. Pride again. What a hindrance to loving our neighbors!

I can’t believe that at times I have been blinded to my own story of redemption. Before I received Christ, I was a strong atheist and pursued success in golf for all the wrong reasons. God in His great mercy allowed me to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open when I was in college and finish ahead of Annika Sorenstam, arguably the greatest woman golfer of all time. All this when I could not have been living further from the light!

The irony: my present self would probably have been rooting against my old self. Yet this event was pivotal in my life. I had dreamed that such an accomplishment would make me happy—if not forever, then at least for a very long time. But it wasn’t enough. The elation lasted about two weeks, turning sour when I realized people were not loving me for who I was, but for what I had done. After having something “good” happen, I went through depression and self-destructive behavior as I sought to fill the emptiness I was feeling after achieving what I had wanted so much. Amazingly, success can be just as difficult as adversity—and, in cases like mine, just as likely to lead someone to Jesus, as God plans it.

For those without hope in Christ, achieving a thing they thought would bring them fulfillment can be the very thing that shows them it is ultimately not enough. Success with discontent leaves the door open for God’s grace to come shining through and do its redemptive work. That is what happened to me! And I am so thankful for God’s wisdom, mercy and great patience with all of us. That’s something I can cheer about!

Isabelle Beisiegel

December 19, 2011

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The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday through Friday at www.linksplayers.com.