As I have been reading the Bible for over 25 years, there are some of God’s attributes that I have grown to love. I have to start with His compassion, love, and grace. My very breath and life is so grateful in that God forgives me. I am so far from His ways. The fact that I am an adopted son of the Savior is thrilling to me. I also admire His holiness, his omnipotence (space… His creation, by His word, wow), His omniscience… all of that is amazing and adored.
On top of that, though, there are some characteristics that have caught me off guard, but make me more appreciative of how He directs me. The fact that God is surprising should not be surprising. He is God and far beyond my ability to grasp.
Surprise #1- God Loves Competition
Our God is a warrior God who seems to relish competition. We pick up some of this in Job where God welcomes Satan’s challenge. We also see it in Revelation and OT references to battles. God is not removed from competition; He puts Himself right in the middle of the battle. We see it in more personal detail when He wrestles Jacob. Christ also shows incredible competitive ability against Satan, flipping the tables and enduring the cross. As a coach, this is encouraging as I seek to teach young men how to compete. Some Christians over the years have challenged me on this (“should Christian schools have football?”) and I have always believed that the natural tendency to shrink from a hard competition does not glorify the Lord. We must, at times, step up and compete! The main attribute missing is us in intensity.
Surprise #2- God Ordains Defeat as a Part of His Ultimate Glory
I hate losing. But I am convinced that God has ordained my defeat at times to show our opponents how we are supposed to be in the loss. I don’t think He favors us over other teams because we are a Christian school. There are believers at the other schools and sometimes a greater blessing is to lose. Who can understand the myriad of His purposes? When I pray, I ask for a win, but there are times when I know He has said ‘No’. It hurts, but I know I am to shake the opponent’s hand, offer congrats, and seek opportunities to still honor my Savior. These defeats teach us humility and keep us from loving the world. Dealing with pain is a part of the ministry of football. Undefeated seasons are special, but persevering in hard times may be more beneficial. It does not give us an excuse to not compete. These defeats go beyond football- Death, tragedy, broken relationships, betrayal, unfair treatment, are all channeled by Him in my life for my good and His glory.
Surprise #3 God Loves to Play the Hero- Showing Up When All Seems Lost
Is there anything more dramatic than a last second win or a comeback? The Lord is the king of comebacks! If history is “his story”, it is a story of awesome drama! The resurrection and many other great Bible stories are winning against all odds. Of course, the Lord is the ultimate hero with every quality admirable one could wish for! Those attributes are ingrained in us as we have His imprint on our hearts.
Our God is full of surprise- it is what will make eternity unbelievably exciting!