Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wrestling Redemption

A student of mine is an extremely talented wrestler. As a freshman, he placed second in the Kansas state high school wrestling tournament. He was very pleased and proud of himself, and, like many young athletes, it went to his head. He became arrogant. During practice his sophomore year, he was unwilling to listen to his coach, thinking he could win on his own. He thought he was good enough that he no longer had to work hard in practice. He made poor choices in the wrestling room. Before he had a chance to qualify for the state tournament again, he made poor choices off the wrestling mat. As a result of these choices, he was no longer able to compete .He lost his dream of a state championship.
Missing a state tournament cost him dearly and gave him time to regret his poor choices. Fortunately, he got another chance. With a different attitude, he rejoined the wrestling team his junior year, willing to listen to the wise advice of his coach. He was not only willing to work hard in the wrestling room, but he voluntarily worked harder than anyone else. He easily qualified for state, winning his regional.

At state, he stayed focused on the goal of a championship and wrestled well, earning a spot in the finals. In his match for the state title, he was so dominant he pinned his opponent in the first period. His joy at winning the state championship was evident to the thousands of spectators who watched. Repeatedly, he jumped for joy, pumping his fists in the air. He ran to his coach, jumped up and hugged him. Then he ran to an unsuspecting cheerleader, grabbed her in a bear hug, picked her up and swung her around. He exhibited pure, unbridled joy!

The story of the wrestler enables us to better understand God’s redemption. Like the wrestler, we sometimes become arrogant. We think we can handle life by ourselves, instead of trusting God to give us the guidance to develop our God-given talents. Like the wrestler, we make poor choices in life. We refuse to listen to God’s word and instead do what seems right in the eyes of the world. The wrestler got another chance. He recognized his poor decisions and decided to change his ways, to work hard, and to listen to his coach. Fortunately for us, our God is a God of second chances. No matter what poor choices we’ve made, God is willing to give us another chance. If we are willing to recognize our poor decisions (our sins), and change our ways (repent of our sins), we are given another chance to learn from God, our Coach.

Once the wrestler changed his ways and achieved his goal, he was filled with inexpressible joy. When we repent and seek God’s guidance, He fills us with inexpressible joy. We may not jump up and down (some of us can’t!), but following Him can give us overflowing joy in our lives, no matter what the circumstances. Maybe when we get to heaven we’ll jump up and down for joy, then run, jump up and hug our Coach.

Father, spiritual coach, I am so grateful for your wise advice Thank you for giving me second chances.

 I John 1:9 (NIV) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

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