Ray Nagin, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Bernard Kilpatrick , William J. Jefferson, Larry Langford, Kwame Kilpatrick, and, unfortunately, the list of politicians who started out doing great things and with great intentions and lost their way goes on. And it isn’t just politicians. Preachers, teachers, mentors, parents, people; we start out with great intentions and with great ideas for positively changing our spheres of influence and existence and then we lose focus. Our eyes stop watching God. We get caught up, having allowed ourselves to get jaded and weary with the proverbial system. We can’t do it! The price is too high. I know there are things about life that cause us pain and anguish; things that absolutely bring us up short, leaving us speechless. But we can’t act like we don’t know who runs things. He gives us brand new mercies every morning so we can be about His business of showing grace (see the previous blog – Mission Grace) and showing restraint. The Bible puts it another way in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
When the Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl, I was ecstatic for Peter (Pete) Clay Carroll, because of Galatians 6:9 (and 2 Thessalonians 3:13). After Pete Carroll had been unceremoniously dismissed from the NFL by both the New York Jets and the New England Patriots, he had the opportunity to hone his craft and, more importantly his life’s philosophy, at the University of Southern California and at his non-profit, A Better LA. His philosophy is based on the love of people; helping people release baggage, define goals and reach those goals. After nine years at USC and after making the program relevant and stout, Pete got the opportunity he thought he may never get, he could return to the NFL as a head coach with his now tested and proven philosophy intact and there would be room for Pete to start A Better Seattle.
Pete trains and empowers his assistant coaches to coach as if they are heads, not assistants. On Super Bowl Sunday, every unit within the team scored! Pete helps every member of his collective team clarify their goals and maximize their talent in order to reach those goals; he helps everybody become the best they can be, doing what they do with what they have. On Super Bowl Sunday, the youngest team in the NFL was focused and played as if they had been there before. And after just four years, with a previously downprogram, Pete made it to the NFL’s grandest stage – and WON!! The swarming Legion of Boom shut down the league’s most prolific offense. (The performance still makes me smile). While Pete was in Los Angeles, building his success in order to build upon his success, God was busy. He was busy planting, coordinating, synchronizing and shifting things around in Seattle to accommodate Pete, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Cliff Avril, MVP Malcolm Smith and Cam Chancellor, to name a few. Someone had been watching and Pete didn’t get weary in doing good. It’s amazing how God works!
A long, long, long time ago a guy named Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. His brothers were fed up with him because he was clearly his father’s favorite and he seemed to place himself on a pedestal whenever he told his brothers and father about his dreams. He was purchased by Potiphar and was eventually entrusted with the entire management of Potiphar’s affairs and household. Potiphar’s wife desired him but Joseph wanted no parts of an affair. Scorned, the wife lied on Joseph and Potiphar threw him into prison. Still, Potiphar trusted Joseph to run the operations at the jail and for Joseph’s part, he never grew stopped doing good. He had to go through a cup-bearer and a baker in order to get to Pharaoh but he eventually did. The encounter landed him a prime-minister’s role in Pharaoh’s Egypt just in time to help his people – his family. Joseph kept gaining skills, developing his gifts and doing what was right and good before God, under all of his adverse circumstances and conditions. In the meantime, God was working it out so that Joseph would find favor with all he met and was in place and prepared at just the right time (Mordecai said it was “such a time as this” Esther 4:14); in Pharaoh’s employ, with the power to effect change and impact lives.
Our current circumstances may be suffocating; we may pass through discouragement or become a regular visitor but God runs this thing! The heat may be hot all around us and we may actually see the flames closing in but Isaiah 43:2 reminds us that the flames will not consume us. That verse of scripture also tells us that we will not drown, even if we see the water mounting, in the form of bills or notices or whatever – we will not drown. If we will just wait on His will and His timing, we can look forward to mounting up on wings as eagles but if not that, we can run and not get weary or if not that, we can walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31). The Lord has preserving power! So “Walk together children. Don’t you get weary. There’s a great camp meeting in the promised land!” (Walk together Children, composer John Rosamond Johnson, 1915).