Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I have to admit, a queen contest was definitely not Emily's thing. It was our idea that she enter because there was scholarship money involved. We all knew it was the same week as her senior homecoming, but who could have guessed it was the same night as mud volleyball? So immediately following the second runner-up crown and roses, Emily scurried off the stage, ate a compulsory piece of victory cake, received her scholarship check and ran out the back door to play mud volleyball...where she was ultimately victorious! When she came home that night, I had to take the picture on the right because it so accurately depicts our lives sometimes. Let me illustrate with a couple of guys in Scripture.

Asa, King of Judah, built and prospered, and Judah's army won great battles because his heart was fully committed to the Lord. But after Judah had experienced a long season of peace, they were again threatened. Instead of going to the Lord for help, he relied on the King of Aram for protection. Success made him soft and erased the memory of God's faithfulness. (2 Chron. 15-16)

Amaziah, King of Judah, enjoyed a great military victory at the hand of God, but he got cocky and tried to attack Israel. God allowed Jehoash, King of Israel to capture Amaziah, humiliate him, tear down Jerusalem's wall and carry away the wealth of the Temple. (2 Chron. 24-25)

Last one - Hezekiah, King of Judah, great guy. Even united some of the remnant of Israel with Judah for Passover. Built and restored Judah in the time of Assyria's rise to world power. But when his wealth was at its peak, he gave some foreigners a peek at ALL his treasure. His success was displayed to the very nation who plundered Judah 5 generations later - the Babylonians. (2 Chron. 29-32)

As I read these "success stories" I to prayed, "Lord, I'm beginning to think success isn't such a great thing!" I'm not sure success is as much a gift as it is a curse. I wondered what would happen if my books were published and people actually bought them. I pondered the possibilities of a full speaking schedule and heavy demands on my time. Would the record of my life look like one of these kings?

I searched my heart and asked the Lord to forestall anything that would take my focus from Him. I determined that if success in any realm would diminish my love and/or relationship with Him, I don't want it. Later that same day - that same day - I received word from both publishing houses that my devotional proposal had been turned down. I laughed out loud! Instead of feeling disappointed, I was almost relieved!

I don't believe I'm ready yet to be successful and remain completely faithful. I'm not ready to be in the queen contest and win first place. I need to go play mud volleyball for a while longer. However, I'm leaving my make-up on - because you never know...when the next contest comes, my heart my be ready to receive more of God's good gifts. I'm simply praying that He never give me too much good for my own good.

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