“If God doesn’t rule your mundane, then he doesn’t rule you. Because that’s where you live.” ~ Paul Tripp
An extraordinarily high percentage of the victims of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute massacre, which took place on April 16, 2007, were active and involved Christians. Raised in loving homes and involved in their local churches, the senseless death of these young people left hundreds of fellow believers to mourn. Shock, horror, and unimaginable grief over the senseless deaths rocked the lives of each family member and each friend of the victims. Unfortunately, most of the victim’s families and loved ones were not allowed the luxury of mourning in private. The world’s media swarmed onto the college campus, parked in front of their homes, and attended wakes and funeral services with recording devices at hand.
Every word spoken by the family and friends were micro-analyzed by international media outlets. Some reporters with certain political biases attempted to manipulate those they interviewed in hopes of provoking an angry response or a bitter tirade toward the gunman or the government. After all, controversy brings good ratings. It is the stuff that cable news networks are made of. They weren’t after mundane comments, they were digging for headlines.
As Christians stepped forward and spoke of the Lord’s strength carrying them through the most painful days of their lives, the media assaulted them with questions that often brought more pain to hearts already broken. “How could a loving God allow this to happen?” “Do you really believe you could forgive that gunman?” “If he was alive, would you want him to receive the death penalty?” News organizations expected articulate and logical answers from people who had not yet buried their dead. If they dared stumble with their words or express raw emotion, they were called a bigot or worse.
Amazed by the graciousness and transparency shown by my fellow believers in the midst of such horror, I asked the Lord, “How could they be so eloquent so soon in the grieving process?”
The Lord’s answer was swift. God provided ample opportunity for these families to prepare for that very moment. Although they were not aware they were in training, God used the mundane experiences of life as His coaching sessions. Each ordinary day before the tragedy, God gave them an opportunity to develop their moral and spiritual fibre. As they forgave drivers who cut them off in traffic in the previous week, God developed their forgiveness muscles for the brutal task that lay ahead. As they graciously accepted disappointment when they were not given a job promotion the month before, the Lord expanded their capacity to trust Him for provision. As they transparently lived their faith on a daily basis, they had nothing to hide from the glaring light of media speculation. The character they showed at the time of great crisis was born out of their responses to every previous challenge that life had thrown their way.
1 Peter 3: 14-17 – “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”
“God uses our mundane, earthly experiences to train and equip us for something greater, to center our thoughts on the eternal, and to be active participants in his outpouring of love and grace.” – Jennifer Slattery
There is, of course, a certain natural talent involved as far as athletic prowess goes. However, elite athletes cannot rely just on talent. They must develop muscle memory, defined by Meriam Webster Dictionary as: the ability to repeat a specific muscular movement with improved efficiency and accuracy that is acquired through practice and repetition.
Consider the following passages written by Paul, as an encouragement. If you are facing the same sort of petty annoyances on a daily basis, consider them as opportunities to train your spiritual self for what lies ahead. Ask your divine coach for tips on how to best train yourself so you can run the race set before you.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27(NKJV) – Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
1 Timothy 4:6-8(MSG) – “ You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.”
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
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Until Next Week,
©2019 Katherine Walden
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