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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)

TITLE: God Never Says, "Phew!"
By Pete Charpentier


I have a confession to make: “I’m a card-carrying-member of the ‘Who Dat’ nation.” Yes, indeed, I’m an unashamed New Orleans Saints fan! But I must also confess that from my vantage point, the outcome of the this year's Super Bowl looked far from certain for my team when they were down ten to nothing in the first quarter.

In fact, when the Colts got the football back with more than one second left on the clock in the fourth quarter, I sighed to myself, “Man, there’s way too much time left in this game!” But then a Saint’s defensive player intercepted the ball and ran it back more than seventy yards for a quick pick-six score, and I rubbed the back of my forearm across my brow and said, “Phew! That’s the game-winner!” While I knew that anything was still possible, I gained a lot more confidence that my New Orleans Saints would seal the deal and be crowned NFL champions. And they did!

Of course, it’s a moment like this that reminds me why God never says, “Phew!” I mean, the Lord never plays “defense.” He’s always on offense; He always possesses the ball; He always marches down field and keeps the hordes of a demonic defense on their heels; and He scores – EVERY time (see Matthew 16:13-23)! In other words, from God’s vantage point, the “game” is never in doubt because He declares: “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (see Isaiah 46:9-10, NIV).

You know, it’s actually comical to think that God would ever say, “Phew!” Try imagining God saying, “Phew, those Egyptians are bearing down fast on My people who are penned against the Red Sea which I scooped out of the earth with My own hand! Now what am I ever going to do?” Ridiculous, isn’t it (see Exodus 14; Isaiah 40:10-15)? Try envisioning God saying, “Phew, I might be able to handle the Red Sea, but those walls around Jericho are just way too high for Me! After all I only reign in heaven!” Farfetched, isn’t it (see Joshua 6; Isaiah 40:22; Matthew 5:34-35)? Try thinking of God saying, “Phew, those three Hebrew children are just going to have to get used to being crispy nuggets in the fiery furnace because they went too far on this one!” Unbelievable, isn’t it (see Daniel 3)!

Okay, you get the idea, right? God never says, “Phew!” because He isn’t in heaven sitting on the edge of throne and wringing His hands with distress etched all over His face. No! You see, when I make the sound “Phew,” it’s because I’m exhausted or I’ve had a close call. But the Lord never tires nor has close calls (see Isaiah 40:25-31). He’s the one and only, self-sustaining, sovereign One! He never “runs-out-of-steam,” and He never reacts. God always acts!

The Lord says in Psalm 50:12, “If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it” (NIV). God doesn’t “need” me to supply His deficiencies because He has no deficiencies! Rather, He is my all-sufficiency in the midst of all my deficiencies (see John 15:5; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). This is why the apostle Peter tells us that God’s divine power gives us everything we need for life and godliness (see 2 Peter 1:3a). And this is why David says that since the Lord is His Shepherd, he doesn’t need a thing (see Psalm 23:1)!

I experience life as I move “through” it, but God orchestrates life because He reigns “over” it! I have many moments when I sigh, “Phew!” because life seems fragile and uncertain from my perspective. But God never says, “Phew!” because He has my life in His hands (see Psalm 31:14-16), and the outcome of all things, including my life, is absolutely secure in Him. Again, this is why God never says, “Phew!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Mull 02/18/10
A great article! I really liked your scriptural references. A wonderful devotional piece. It spurs ones heart on to praise to our God, the mighty creator of the universe!
Donna Wolther02/18/10
I really liked it also. Amazing you could say all that in 750 words. It painted a wonderful picture, thank you.
AnneRene' Capp02/19/10
Really liked how you took an everyday event, (well, yearly) event and compared your emotions to God's.

You had me laughing so hard that I had to stand up and away from the computer for a moment!

This gave me a great insight of your ability to witness to others. In my opinion...Great Story!!!!!

Btw....Was also glad to see the Saints take it :)
Marie Fink02/19/10
This piece is of an experienced writer or speaker. Your analogy of football as a springboard into the crux of what you want to really say is marvelous. Then to pose the absurd as a segue into what scripture really says is superb. Ending with a personal application ties it all together very well. Great piece.
Lisha Hunnicutt02/22/10
Wow! This is a great piece. The application of scripture and the power of God was awe-inspiring. Well done.
Sarah Elisabeth 02/25/10
Pete, a big congrats on your EC!
stanley Bednarz02/25/10
This is a great divotional that deserves to be in print. Congrates!
Beth LaBuff 02/25/10
Wow! Great devotional, love your humor! Congrats on your level placing and your Editor's Choice!