You Can’t Win Them All

  Tom Watson lost in the British Open Golf Playoff.  One putt, from 8 feet, was all that separated him from victory. It seemed that most of the golf fans were pulling for Tom Watson to win. I wanted him to win and I am not even a golf fan. But, how disappointing, he lost. Even the great Tiger Woods didn’t make the cut so he could play in the second round. He took his clubs and went home.  Someone has said about baseball, “you win a few, lose a few and a few are rained out.” That is the way it is. I think it was Lombardi, the great coach of the Green Bay Packers, who said, “Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing.”  I disagree.  There has to be winners and losers, that is what makes it a game. What counts is playing the game: striving, struggling, becoming, being the best player you can be. 

  I am fearful, that this success syndrome, ‘win them all attitude’, is carried over into the Christian life. We highlight our spiritual highs, implying that these are the norm.  The ‘victorious Christian life’ gospel is at best only half true.  Christians need to be told that difficulties and pressures are par for the course. And no amount of Biblical input or deeper-life conferences or super-victory seminars will remove the struggles.  
If we expect a trouble-free walk with Jesus, we will not be prepared to handle the inevitable trials and failures that confront us.  Jesus told His disciples, “In this world you will have trouble.”  John 16:33 

  The Bible does not hold up before us any false sense of victory without conflict.  We are engaged in an all out war and we can’t have battles without leaving scars.  None of us are exempt from the agony of the struggle.  It is true as the old song says, “All God’s children got troubles.  

  I want you to know that we all are involved in the tragic possibility of suffering.  Every intelligent person knows that he lives every minute of his life on the brink of disaster.  Life is transitory, perilous, potentially horrible.  God is not the cause of our suffering.  Some misfortunes are caused by bad luck, some are caused by bad people, some are simply an inevitable consequence of our being human and being mortal, living in a world of inflexible, natural laws. Yet, pain, sorrow, suffering has its place in the scheme of things, helping us to be more aware of the temporariness of life in this world and the value of relationships.

  May the Lord help us to accept the truth that we can’t win them all. We will lose some battles. We don’t always have to be victorious, on top of everything. The crucial thing to understand is that we can win the war, even if we lose some battles.  Life is filled with ups and downs, successes and failures, and we must learn to accept the bitter with the sweet.  Someone said, “If you want a place in the sun, you must expect    blisters.”   Our challenge is to be faithful to the Lord, no matter what life in this world brings to us.

  Sir Winston Churchhill was asked to speak before a group of schoolboys at Harrow.  The teacher told the boys to be prepared with pencil and paper to write down what the great statesman would say.  The day came when the Prime Minister of Great Britain was to speak.  He was 75 years of age.  He stood, lowered his glasses to his nose and said with great feeling, “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.  Never. Never.”  His speech was over and the boys had received that crucial message, Never give up.  

  Be faithful to the Lord, no matter what.  God’s love and forgiveness will cover the battles you have fought but lost.  But, in Christ Jesus, you can win the war and gain that Heavenly Home which Christ has prepared for the faithful.  This old world is not home.  If this world is heaven, what is Heaven for?

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.   2 Corinthians 4:8-9
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”    2 Corinthians 4:16-18

4 Responses to “You Can’t Win Them All”

  1. Great devocional, Max.
    I learned my “theology of suffering” and the Biblical viewpoint of “The Will of God” from you at Jackson, and it has passed the test of time (50 years). It has also passed the test of suffering, trials and tribulations in my own life. Thanks, Max, for this particular influence on my life.
    Love from another of your “Timothys”,

  2. Max, this devotional is perfect for me to send to a friend who is experiencing some soul-searching problems and needs a great pep talk. Your words are more powerful than mine.
    Jo Blevins

  3. This passage speaks to me, Max: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

    I have Morton’s Neuroma (2 neuromas in each foot). I love to run, but the pain from running in shoes is so unbearable and crippling that I am unable to run in shoes any more. However, I have found that I can run barefoot, and I can run for miles and miles before that horrible pain sets in. I have absolutely fallen in love with running barefoot. It took some time, but I finally realized that Morton’s Neuroma is a gift I have received from God, because without it, I would never have discovered barefoot running.

    “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never. Never.”

  4. Hi Uncle Max. Hope this email finds you well.
    I really like this devotional. To me, it is your best one, even though all of them are wonderful! You know my health matter and this devotional truly made/makes, me think more positive and understand the reason(s).
    Thank you so much for this lesson as it has lifted me up.

    My son, Brian, will be here Tuesday, from Ca. and he will be staying for a month. I am so excited! Love and thoughts, Michele

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