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Living with Obstacles and Ambiguity - Pastor's Pen for November 5th 2023


I can see the mountain, and I might want to go there, but what obstacles are in my path that I have no knowledge of, and have not accounted for? In this case, hills, bush, roads, at least one river, and so much more.


Last Sunday I had three sporting spectacles to distract me from the proper work of my ministry vocation. First, the Rugby World Cup final, second, the boxing match between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou, and something more personal, my uncle's performance in the Auckland half-marathon over the Harbour Bridge on his 65th birthday.


Sport being what it is, all three events ended with ambiguity and a little disappointment, leaving more questions than answers. The rugby final was dominated by the numerous interventions and perceived inconsistencies of the match officials, the boxing was a very dubious split decision, and my uncle did not start the half marathon due to a recent back strain.


I care more about my uncle than the other things, as he was very likely to have ended up on the podium for his new age group, having trained very effectively prior to the race. I was able to commiserate with him in the afternoon, and he will continue to race well in the future.


These events teach me about life in a couple of ways; The unexpected sometimes happens, adversity comes our way, and we are challenged to respond in an appropriate way. Do we experience rage or sadness? Or do we see opportunities for growth and learning? Sometimes we are called to forgive and let go, even when things seem unjust to us.


The other thing is that I am reminded what really matters in life. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary defines sport as a "pleasant pastime; amusement; diversion...participation in games or exercises" among other things. Let's check our perspective and keep things where they belong; when did sport become akin to a religion?


The psalmist proclaims "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits..." (Ps 103:2) This is the real life priority, and when any obstacle or ambiguity confronts us, we recall that we belong to God and can most likely handle the rough terrain ahead in Him, focusing on what is actually important.



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