Karate Kid, Football, and Heaven

I’ve had nothing this week. I have not had a single thought to write about lately and as I was praying this afternoon about this very problem I heard…. nothing.  So I said to the Lord, “Lord, then I’m not going to write because I’m not going to write filler just so there is something to read,” and I was prepared to not write until I was inspired.  That is until… I came downstairs this afternoon and noticed two pages on the counter full of writing. I hesitantly picked them up, thinking for a moment that perhaps my husband had written me a note or something, but he hadn’t.  He had written an entire blog post on his way to work, by hand, something he never does.  I guess the Lord had to shut me up to work through him.  
God says we will suffer over and over in His Word. I find myself wondering why? Why should we have to suffer especially if we are doing our best to follow Him and His will for our lives? I have struggled with this topic often and have come to a bit of a conclusion- in my own understanding of course. I believe we are in training and the amount of suffering we will have to endure depends on how God wants to use us. The most difficult part for me is not knowing what I’m training for. In the movie “Karate Kid” (sorry, it’s the best example that comes to mind:), when Mr. Miyagi is teaching Ralph Macchio the basics of karate, he makes him do some ridiculous things including painting his house and waxing his truck. Some of you might remember the famous line “wax on…wax off”… Finally, after what seems to be weeks of these outrageous tasks, Ralph speaks up and wants to know when he will actually learn how to fight. Mr. Miyagi recognizes that his student is exasperated with what appears to be insignificant chores and explains that he has been learning how to defend himself all along. Like Ralph, I don’t handle not knowing as well as I would like to but I have improved over the years. Now that I am aging, I have realized that I must stretch before even shooting a basketball or throwing a football with my boys or I will regret it; often for weeks. But, I know what needs to be done and why to prevent painful consequences. With God’s will, it’s not so simple, at least for me. I am in training for something that only God knows and until I have been properly prepared, it will not be revealed. I am learning to be OK with that but it is a process. Now, back to the thought that what we do with our suffering or training might determine how God has decided to use us. On numerous occasions in the NFL, quarterbacks have been drafted after phenomenal college careers and never live up to their super hero expectations. They thought they would retire from football in their late 30’s hopefully with their brains still in tact and live out the rest of their lives on a very quiet golf course somewhere in Florida. Thus feeling like all of their training and suffering paid off. Many are cut before they ever even throw a football on the field as a pro. They thought they knew why they had endured the intense preparation but now they must face some hard truths. Will they have to get a normal job? Will they become a coach or broadcaster? Or will they sulk and be bitter the rest of their lives because it didn’t turn out the way they had planned? Sadly, many of them will fall into the trap of dwelling on what they lost and not what could potentially be an opportunity for a very rewarding career and life. God opens doors and He closes doors and nobody likes a closed door. Our lives, all of our lives consist of an endless hallway of doors and we can either bang our heads and spend all of our energy and sometimes our entire lives trying to pry open a door that can’t be opened, or we can walk to the next door. Who knows, even if our first opportunity seemed like the best possible scenario for our life, it is possible and often likely the next one could be even better. There is no guarantee that the next door won’t have some heartache but it will allow life to begin again. Dwelling on our hardships is much easier than trying to surpass them and the longer we hold on, the harder they are to let go of. Life will be full of hardship and defeat but Heaven is the ultimate reward. My mantra is to try to find as many open doors as you can while you can until you find yourself standing at a very tranquil stairway… that’s my 2 cents:)
Just keep livin! 

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