Dr. Lawrence Butler
The Bridge Church, Pembroke
The goal was to be chosen. The prize was to be on stage with one of the prettiest girls in our elementary school. Never doubt the power of love in an 8-year-old boy. Not only would the one selected be on stage with her but would also be riding a bicycle built-for-two.
That’s what the song called for as part of a class presentation for the school’s student body. Fred won!
I wanted to win, but Fred won. So while I sat and sang, “You’ll look sweet, upon the seat, of a bicycle built for two,” Fred was riding and I was not.
Losing something important is not always an easy thing to overcome. It happens to all of us. It happened to Joshua, new leader of the Israelites after the death of long-time inspirational prophet Moses. Ole’ Josh was lookin’ good after the victory at Jericho. I mean, people marched and shouted and the magnificent walls of Jericho came tumbling down. This was perhaps the greatest military victory of that era. Then they ran into Ai. This was a small town the Israeli army should have been able to run right over, but instead were defeated, humiliated and embarrassed. The blame fell upon Joshua because he was now their leader. He wanted to blame God for forsaking His chosen people, but the Lord revealed through answered prayer the fault was within the camp of Israel. When the situation was corrected and the sin put away, God was willing to lead and help them again. (Read the whole story Joshua 7-8) The real point here is that often we fail because we have not sought God’s will for our lives as we should. From failure comes lessons we need to learn, and often results in changes within us that prepare us for the next phase of God’s will for our lives. After losing the first battle at Ai, Joshua consulted with God on the battle plan for the second attempt. This time the trip was hugely successful. So many times losing is only a prelude to real success if we can only learn what we should from each loss. After which we should rise in faith and fight for victory.
In case you’re wondering, I never made headway with the young lady in that play, but did find another beautiful young lady whose heart I won. How and why she fell in love with me is difficult to understand. I mean, we never rode a bicycle built-for-two and were never on stage as actors.
However, we have been on stage in churches singing and praising God for His many blessings. By the way, we’ve been married for over 50 years. I guess losing isn’t always bad!