As a sport’s official, I get to see many people react in stressful situations. Many lessons are learned under such conditions – this is why (originally) that our society supports youth sports. Character is revealed, too – sometimes to the good and sometimes not.
As happens every year, the character of some was put on display on the baseball diamond. This involved different people in different leagues in different Alaskan locals, yet I noticed a common theme in all these situations. (It wasn’t me! – this time…) Each time, the aggravated party accused the other of having an agenda that is wrong.
As an umpire, this thought of different agenda stuck me as a ‘Duh’ moment. Of course there are different agendas in an athletic contest. Each team wants to win – there are two different agendas. Each player wants to play and be the star. Many parents want their child to play and be the star – some want it with a passion that more intense that if the parent was playing the game. A good coach wants to see the growth and development of the players – sometimes more than the win. When I am working at a game, I have a different agenda – no injuries, good competition, rules followed, minimal murmuring and a speedy conclusion. All these agendas come together in one spot – no wonder conflict ensues.
I was pondering this as I was accused of being against the agenda of a team (victory for them). My agenda is so totally foreign to that team. Sometimes, my actions will align with the team’s agenda – other times, my actions will be in conflict with their agenda. Great eruptions of anger can and do ensue when people are convinced that I am out to 'get them' or I am thwarting theri agenda. The reality of it all was I had no interest – zero – in their agenda. My thoughts and actions are towards an entirely different end. Most of the players have no concept of what I am trying to accomplish. Yet, through it all, I do have the best interests of the players at heart. I want the best for all of them - just not the 'best' as they define it.
I see much similarity in this with Joshua 5. The scene is just before the Israelites attack Jericho. Joshua is night scouting the city when an unknown figure draws close. Joshua asks him “are you for us or for our enemies?” – are you for our agenda or for there agenda? The response is unexpected – ‘Neither’. God was not out to establish he agenda of either side. Rather, God was fulfilling His agenda – the long, slow march to Calvary. That was the ultimate good – fulfilling our ultimate need. How short-sighted and foolish are our fleshly agendas!
Romans 8 reads “Since God is for us…”. Remember that God wants the best for us and many times our wants and desires are not the best for us. Place His ‘No’ to your prayer not as God being against you but as being for you and for an agenda that is more glorious than we can ask or even think.