Encounter: Meditate on 2 Peter 1:1-11 in the New Living Translation and The Passion Translation. Then read through Proverbs 19:21, Psalm 25:4-9, 1 Thes 5:16-18, Heb 13:20-21. Try Biblegateway and try reading from a translation you have not tried before.
The headlines today on just about every news source and social media outlet tells us that, Simone Biles, the four-time Olympic gold medalist, has withdrawn from the women’s team gymnastic finals. The statement from U.S.A. Gymnastics tell us she will not compete in Thursday’s individual all-around competition because of a mental health issue. Shortly after, I read another headline, Team U.S.A. settles for Silver. Decisions determine outcomes.
Biles explained that she decided to withdraw due to the pressure of the situation. Her departure was not related to a physical injury, she added. "I felt like it would be better to take a back seat," Biles said. "I didn’t want to risk the team a medal because they worked way too hard for my screw-ups."
Thankfully, it appears she received support from U.S.A Gymnastics when they released a statement saying, “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”
Biles has received standing ovations for 17 years but is a role model for more than the 27 gold, five silver and four bronze medals during her career or for the difficult decision she made to honor her health and limitations as a human being, but also for honoring her journey as a survivor of sexual abuse from an Olympic team doctor.
A couple of weeks ago I listened to an interview Biles had given after she had made the decision to make her story public. She was asked by the Today show why she came back to the sport after the sexual abuse scandal. Her response was clear, “I have a purpose to be a voice for the younger generation and I’ve done that…I feel like God called me...to be a voice, to have change happen, gymnastics wasn’t the only thing I was to come back for.” A calling she says, that is bigger than the sport of gymnastics. And now it appears is bigger than a gold medal at the Olympics and a perfect score if you ask me.
Most of us will never be Olympic champions and our decisions both big and small are not spread all over social media, but making decisions that align with God’s will is more impactful than headlines, people’s opinions or even winning the gold medal in the Olympics. And God’s will is less a mystery than you might think. The Bible tells us, By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3, NLT)
Our new series that begins this Sunday, Reclaim – Living the Will of God, will help us understand and discover the will of God for our lives as we deal with the four issues that challenge us: how we make decisions, how we use time, how we discern our calling in life and how we face suffering.
We never know how things will turn out in life, but when we make the decisions to live God’s will every day, I can only imagine we receive a standing ovation even more amazing than the Olympics and of course more eternal because God tells us, The entire universe is standing on tiptoe,[a] yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious[b] sons and daughters! (Romans 8:19 TPT)
See you Sunday as we celebrate our VBS kids and volunteers during service and after for lunch and pray for our kids and teachers as they return to school next week that this school year will be a year of Reclaiming! And living into the will of God for their lives.
Let His Will Be Done!
Reflect: How has your life taken turns you couldn’t have predicted? What did you learn from these turns? How do the scripture references connect with your story?
Encourage: At times, it can be encouraging to see how far you have come. Whether you are seventeen or seventy, as you look back on your life, what have you learned that is truly important? What does this say about your understanding of God’s will? In other words, what is the relationship between what you consider of supreme value (from lessons you have learned through life’s experiences) and the kinds of plans you have for yourself involving the future?
Gather: Discuss in your small group or with a friend, if you could know the future, would you really want to? What would such knowledge do for you? How would it affect your view of the present moment? How does this relate to God’s will and the way you make decisions?