I love football. Especially the Minnesota Vikings. And Peyton Manning. And Scottie Benedict. Scottie is my favorite youngest nephew and will always be my favorite athlete (QB) and even though neither he nor Peyton play football anymore, they are my favorites. Yes, I love football.
Steve and I watched the Vikings-Packers game a few weeks ago. (Ooftah.) In the first few minutes of the game, the Packers fumbled, and we were instantly yards away from potentially scoring a touchdown. Steve said to anyone on the Vikings team who was listening to him through the TV, “You’ve been given a gift. Do something with it.” Wise words, wouldn’t you say? Not only for my Vikings, but for my heart.
This has been a season of some tough times. You too? I’ve seen the messiness with the Vikings (bummer), in friends’ lives, and in our own family. And what our hearts need so much is PEACE. Especially after a big life fumble.
It’s easy for me to remember that in all of this, God offers me that gift of peace. It’s a gift just waiting for me to take it. But this is where I sometimes mess up. I know in my head that peace can be mine. I read and speak the Bible verses that promise it to me. But if I don’t accept the peace — if I don’t choose peace — if I don’t apply the peace to my life — it doesn’t change anything. It’s simply a gift that is within my reach, that can change my heart and my life, and I just look at the pretty package with the bow and smile. “What a nice gift.”
My friend….Let’s not miss this gift of peace. For real. Let’s not settle for knowing that it’s there for us. Let’s grab it with gusto. Open it! Claim it as our own. Let’s put that PEACE in our hearts. Replace the fretting and the hand wringing and the trying to control the situation. Set all that aside and say, “Thank you, God, for this gift! I’m taking it and I’m going to do something with it. In for the touchdown!”
Football is just a game (as Steve keeps reminding me when it gets a bit too nerve-wracking to watch). But our hearts – our lives – they are real. They really matter. Let’s live with the peace that only God can give. The peace that passes all understanding. (Re-read that last sentence. The peace that passes all understanding. That’s a big deal kind of peace, right?)
We have been offered a gift. The gift of PEACE.
Let’s do something with it.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7 Message paraphrase)