These are the words I remember yelling so much as a child when my brothers, cousins, or other neighborhood kids would enter into races. Things a little differently at the Olympics but the concept is the same and so is our spiritual life.
Olympic athletes spend long grueling hours, day-after-day, preparing for that one chance to compete in the Olympic Games. Not that I have ever lived in such a way but I am sure those athletes wake up early some days and wonder why they are doing this with their lives, wonder if the sacrifice is worth it. I imagine it is hard to stay motivated unless they keep something to remind them of the anticipated reward.
Often times our prayer lives are exactly the same. We pray, pray, pray, asking God for favors, imploring our case, begging to find peace in the midst of what we perceive to be insanity. Sometimes it is easy to wonder if our prayers are truly worthwhile. This is when we need to remember that the prayers we offer change us, not others. The prayers we offer condition our hearts for eternity. We recognize His Glory and offer gratitude, we review our day, our week and ask forgiveness for the times we have denied Him dwelling within others and within ourselves. We present our needs before Him and most importantly, we rest, silently, in His presence. So many times we forget about that restful and silent part of prayer. This is when God is working on our hearts and speaking to us, often with a quiet whisper. In the silence He is setting our disposition in accordance with His loving will. In the steps of “Ready, Set, Go” we can’t skip of the “Set” step. We can’t go from getting ready to pushing off with great energy without that step of silence. Just look at those Olympic swimmers…they fidget, step up on the blocks, make sure their hands and feet are properly placed. Then, after all that, they are set in place, quiet and still as statues, waiting for the starting buzzer. When we “set” in place we too need to be silent and wait for the Lord to tell us to, “Go!”
When the Lord does tell us to “go,” He is giving us what we need to move toward eternity with Him. We know we belong in eternity or else we wouldn’t have ventured into this race in the first place. When we “go” with His loving will, we live our lives according to His wisdom and come closer to our entering into our eternal home. In refusing to follow the basic, “Ready, Set, Go” rules in our spiritual journey leads us to doing our own will and we all know how things work out when we fail to recognize the love and power of God.
Let us take the advice of my wise pastor this morning (and I paraphrase), “Act like you belong to eternity and you will live according to the wisdom of God. If you don’t you will just be doing things based upon your own will”