It’s the Thursday before the USAW National Championships and, as with most lifters prepping for the meet, there’s always a bit of nerves. The taper bug is in full swing, most of us are cranky cutting a couple extra kilos, and we’re facing the biggest National stage available to us in this country. Months of hard work are on the line, hours of training, thousands of reps, and multitudes of aches and pains were overcome to get us to this point.
For me, the circumstance of events that is running through my head is, “How in the world did I so graciously end up here?” “What events had to happen in order to create this scenario?” “What if something different had happened?” “What if I didn’t like weightlifting when I was young?” “What if I pursued something else as a hobby after high school?” All of these questions are streaming through my head and have been for the past couple days. This week, I found myself in Psalm 115. The first 8 verses were both a great comfort and also a good reminder of the God I serve. Check it:
“1 Not to us, Yahweh, not to us,
but to Your name give glory
because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth.
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in heaven
and does whatever He pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
5 They have mouths but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
6 They have ears but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
7 They have hands but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk.
They cannot make a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.”
There are three specific things going on in this passage that catch my eye and heart.
Primarily, how great is our God that He sits in heaven above all creation AND He does ALL that He pleases. What’s more, nothing He does (and He does magnificent things) is hard for Him. He does all with all power and all control and He does it with ease. That’s a comfort and conviction wrapped in one phrase. Our God carries such power and knowledge that there is no surprising Him, stopping Him, or out-smarting Him and any attempt on our part to try ends poorly for us.
Secondly, the contrast of God with the idols and false gods of the world is night and day. God is omniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent, and alive! The fake, created gods that we make to try and replace God are dead, lifeless, and inadequate. The psalm, written at a time different than ours, talks specifically of fake idols and statues created by men bent on worshipping and serving the gods of other cultures. Today, we are no different. Our fake gods and idols just take a less tangible, apparent form. Our idols are still the works and creation of our own minds: success, acceptance, popularity, money, prosperity, self-satisfaction. They are all terrible, created idols that our culture seems bent on serving and worshipping. Just as in Psalm 115, our idols are dead, lifeless, and inadequate to fulfill the expectations we place upon them. In fact, they lead us to disappointment, depression, self-loathing, shame, and defeat. That’s the exact point made at the end of verse 8. All who make these false idols or gods are destined for the same makeup as the gods they worship; dead, lifeless, and inadequate.
The third piece that I find great comfort in this weekend specifically is that contrast between our God and the false gods of the world. When I ask questions, doubting how I got here, questioning if I’m prepared to be in the place that I am, or if I belong here, this passage assures me that I’m right where I should be. God, who is truly all-powerful and all-knowing has ordained my steps and guided my ways. There is an incredible amount of peace where God’s omniscience overlaps His sovereign plan for our lives! He knows what would have happened if I didn’t pick up a barbell at age 12. He knows what would have happened had I not walked into CrossFit Athens while attending UGA. He knows what would have happened had I picked a different seminary, in a city other than Dallas. He knows all those things, and the most comforting part is that He has me right where I am! There’s a lot of peace in that truth as I head into this weekend.
God is not taken off-guard or surprised that I am at the National Championships competing this weekend. In fact, He knew I would be here and ordained my steps to take me here. The fear, insecurity, and questions I have about my place in life today are all satisfied in the knowledge of who God is and how much greater He is than anything else. His knowledge and grace is immeasurable, and for that reason I can find great peace and comfort in how this weekend will go, what happens this weekend, and what happens in the years to come. So can you.