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Life: The True Reality Show
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Okay, I’ll admit it. I have gotten hooked on a couple of those reality TV shows. I haven’t sinned have I? I hope there isn’t a verse in the Bible which says I’m not supposed to watch these shows. At least try not to be too critical of me. As much as I tried to resist, I finally gave into the American Idol and Survivor frenzy. Every week I join over 20 million other people who watch these shows. I eagerly tune in each week as if these shows couldn’t exist without me watching them. This is complete craziness I know.
Each week I tune into American Idol critiquing the performers as if I had any singing talent whatsoever. I always defend myself by proclaiming that if anyone knows what singing out of tune sounds like then I do because that’s the way I sing! I also got involved in the Survivor All-Stars with an overwhelming desire to vote “Boston” Rob off of the island. Please! Are the rest of them completely nuts! How could they possibly…..oh, sorry…..I got started again.
It seems that all of a sudden, reality television has exploded onto the scene. What is the appeal of these reality-type shows? We have been bombarded with shows such as: The Bachelor, Average Joe, The Apprentice, My Big Fat Obnoxious Wedding, Big Brother and so on. I don’t know, I suppose it is the appeal to put average people like us in extreme situations. It’s too bad that they haven’t considered a church reality-based show. What does the deacon REALLY think of his pastor? Hmmmm. Don’t give FOX any ideas here!
Although reality television is the popular theme now, to the majority of us, life is the true reality show. Most of our lives are not on a television camera every week shown to millions of people. Instead of a prize of a million dollars, a recording contract or working for Donald Trump, we have a much higher prize before us. (Yes, even richer than Trump!) We have the promise of eternal life as our reward. Our lives are on God’s camera. Everything is being recorded. Nothing is edited out unless it has been washed by the blood of Christ.
In “real” life there are some things that we can’t deny:
Life is not fair.
Pain – both physical and emotional – are a part of life.
Life is not all good or all bad. It’s a combination of both.
Some of you have taken some strong blows that life has dealt you, yet you are still standing. Has it been by your own strength? No. I’m sure you would be quick to testify to the goodness of God through the difficulties in your life.
Think life isn’t fair? Take a look at an Old Testament man named Mephibosheth. Besides a ridiculously long name that I’m sure no one could spell right or pronounce, Mephibosheth could have been one of those characters on Hee Haw and sing the “gloom, despair and agony on me” song. He was the grandson of King Saul. At the age of 5 years old, his babysitter dropped him and caused him to suffer permanent paralysis. When Saul was killed, he hid from David when David succeeded Saul to the throne. It was common practice in those days for kings to seek out the living relatives of their predecessors to kill them and eliminate them as potential rivals to the throne.
In the years that Saul was king, David had a close friendship with Jonathan, Saul’s son. When Jonathan realized that David was to be the next king, he asked one favor of David – to spare his family. David kept that promise. In 2 Samuel 9, we read the account of David remembering his promise and seeking out Mephibosheth. David not only spared his life, but moved him to live in the palace.
It would have been easy to feel sorry for Mephibosheth. Life wasn’t fair to him. He was accidentally dropped and crippled. His royalty status was gone when Saul was killed. None of it was his fault. In spite of those setbacks, David was a man who kept his word and desired to fulfill a promise to his dear friend.
Sometimes we may think that everything is against us and we are just destined for something bad to happen to us. It doesn’t have to be that way. God has a way of lining up the circumstances and situations for us.
In the New Testament, Paul was the “Rodney Dangerfield” of evangelists. He didn’t enjoy the success that some modern day evangelists enjoy. Paul knew exactly how the reality of life can be. He was beaten, shipwrecked and thrown into prison throughout the course of his ministry.
(2 Corinthians 11)
Why did this happen? Was he simply a criminal? No. He was preaching the Word of God and telling everyone about Jesus. Now this doesn’t seem quite fair does it? Even with all that Paul went through he could still encourage us to “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again; Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
There’s probably something we could learn about Paul’s attitude toward life. Whenever life gets tough, we need to take an in-depth look at Paul’s life and found out what the real source of his strength was. To Paul, everything else was loss except for knowing Christ. Like us today, Paul never saw Jesus in the flesh yet after his transformation on the road to Damascus, He was committed to the cause of Christ. Are we that committed?
Paul probably never dreamed that his life would take the turns that it did. Life doesn’t always go as planned for us. I think it’s difficult for our youth today in being forced to make certain decisions about their future. At 17 or 18, they are expected to know what they are going to do with the rest of their lives. While goals are good, it is a challenge to plan our lives in an exact way. There are many variables that can change the course of our lives. Better than having a college degree in hand is the ability to adapt to changes in life. This is the best attribute to have. If we don’t develop that characteristic, we will spend our lives dealing with setbacks by always repeating “If this hadn’t happened….”
Our attitudes about the reality of life are that we either draw closer to God or we move away from Him. When we move away from Him we tend to blame, fear or become angry. Drawing closer to God allows us to have hope, a positive outlook and acceptance, although acceptance doesn’t mean we like it.
Paul prayed three times for his thorn in the flesh to be removed (Hebrews 12:1) yet God refused. God told Paul that His grace was sufficient. Notice that the Bible never tells us exactly what that thorn was to Paul. I grew up thinking it was a literal thorn but many believe it wasn’t anything physical. Personally I’m glad we don’t know exactly what it was. Apparently it wasn’t important for us to know. Perhaps that detail was left out on purpose so that we could substitute our thorn in its place. When our thorn is placed in that passage, we are also told that God’s grace is sufficient for us too.
Many times it is difficult to settle our minds on that. It’s definitely not an easy answer but it gives us the peace that God IS still in control in spite of the pain. There is a purpose at work in our lives. God certainly isn’t oblivious to our pain, nor is He ignoring us during those times. We don’t see the big picture. Our view is so limited. That’s why we must trust our uncertainties and difficulties in life to an all-knowing God. God has retained the right to have secret things that only He knows (Deuteronomy 29:29). He wants us to have faith in Him not in our ability to know what He’s doing in our lives.
None of us like pat answers to the difficulties we have in life. We all want and expect answers. No amount of bargaining will move God to share some things with us. He’s God. We’re not. We either put our trust in His plan for us or we don’t. Those are our options. Let’s choose to trust His plan.
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Reader Count & Comments
28 May 2004
Beautiful job!! I thoroughly enjoyed your writing and found it to be both entertaining and challenging. Great work!
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