What championship quarterbacks teach us about looking to God

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Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images (From inquistr.com)

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Today’s chapter: 1 Samuel 23

Last night’s national championship game was a great one. As I watched, I noticed both the Alabama and Clemson quarterbacks had a habit I’ve noticed before. Before each play, they paused and looked to the sideline to find out from the coach what to do.

Once when the play call didn’t arrive in time, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson called time out. He’s learned that it’s wiser to wait on the coach to tell him what to run, than to wing it and just call his own play. Even though he knows the playbook better than anyone on the field and could probably call a pretty good play, he wasn’t going to do anything until he heard from the coach.

I see David displaying a similar habit in this passage. Four times he “looks to the sideline” and asks the Lord what to do. He has learned from the disaster in Nob (1 Samuel 21) how wrong things can go when he takes matters into his own hands. He is determined to not repeat that mistake.

If he has to wait for God to answer, he is willing to call time out and wait. Even if the guidance he receives from the Lord doesn’t make sense to his men, he is done with relying on his own wisdom. He is committed to seeking God’s will in every situation and doing whatever He says.

I want to trust God like David. Let’s be committed to seek His will not just daily, but to pause and inquire of Him in every decision. When we don’t have a clear answer, let’s be willing to wait until we do rather than taking matters into our own hands.

If we’d seek God’s as consistently as David, I’m convinced we’d be better parents. If we’d wait for God as patiently as a quarterback waits on the play call from his coach, we’d be better spouses. We’d be better employees and bosses. We’d be better friends and family members.

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Let’s try a one-day experiment. You’re going to make decisions throughout your day today. Commit to pausing and seeking God’s will in EVERY decision that matters. If you have to wait for Him to answer, be willing to wait. I’m praying for you as you depend on Him in this way. I’d love to hear how your day goes.

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PowerBall odds and depending on God

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Today’s chapter: 1 Samuel 22

The PowerBall jackpot has now soared to $1.3 billion. Lottery fever is running rampant. Even Hollywood celebrities are talking about what they’d do if they won the prize.

The lottery mindset is kind of funny. When the grand prize is $10 million, nobody cares. But when the jackpot climbs over $100 million, suddenly everyone takes notice. It’s as if a few million dollars wasn’t worth the drive to the convenience store, but now a $100 million award is a whole different story.

Of course, the odds at this point of having the winning ticket are worse than ever. Statistically, you have roughly the same odds of bowling a perfect 300 game (1 in 11,500) AND losing an appendage from a chainsaw accident (1 in 4,464) AND ultimately dying in an asteroid apocalypse (1 in 12,500). Yes, I seriously calculated that.

David has gone from living palace in the palace to hiding out in a cave. He had been on the fast track and people were writing songs about him, but now he’s in a cave. He used to be the golden boy with lucrative offers to endorse everything from Famous Dave’s barbecue sheep sandwich to Nike’s new Air David slingshot line, but now he’s in a cave. He thought it was God’s will for him to be king, but now he’s in a cave. What once seemed like a sure bet now appears to be the longest of long shots.

The cave is where you end up when your life doesn’t unfold the way you had thought it would. You had plans for happiness and success, but then your circumstances end up very differently.

Maybe you’re in a cave right now. Perhaps you are out of work, coping with financial pressures, reacting to a health crisis, or dealing with a rocky relationship. Whether your journey to the cave was due to your own bad decisions or someone else letting you down, it can start to feel like God has forgotten you. Caves can be incredibly lonely and even seem like they’re going to last forever.

But caves are where God does some of His best work on us. Perhaps it’s because we are finally away from everything that distracts us from His voice. Maybe it’s because when He is all we have left, we realize He is all we need. For whatever reason, God has shaped me during my times in caves like no other times of my life.

If you think about it, the odds of winning the PowerBall are actually the exact same every time. You always have to match all 6 numbers and the odds of successfully doing that never actually changes. Your chances of success are always about 1 in 300 million.

David learned the odds of God accomplishing His will in David’s life hadn’t changed either. Even though his circumstances had temporarily shifted, he was learning some valuable lessons. Perhaps most importantly, he learned he could talk to God about anything.

The odds of God accomplishing His will in your life haven’t changed one bit. God hasn’t abandoned you. If you’ll allow Him, He will use this time in your life to mold you into who He wants you to be. The odds of Him being right beside you and loving you unconditionally haven’t changed, either. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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Read David’s prayer in Psalm 142 to see the honest prayer David wrote during this time. Then talk just as honestly with God about how you feel about your own circumstances. Not only can He handle the truth, it’s what He wants to hear from you. Then ask Him what you can learn from your time in the cave. Allow Him to shape you into who He wants you to be.

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