Friday, May 25, 2007


I spent this week in Phoenix, AZ for work. On Tuesday night, I met Jason, my wife's cousin, and his son for a Diamondback's baseball game.
We arranged to meet outside the stadium and walked together to pick up the tickets that he had ordered earlier in the afternoon. However, when we arrived at the "Will Call" window we were told that there was a computer problem and that we'd have to wait for our tickets to print.

We had been waiting for our tickets for almost twenty minutes, when suddenly a guy approached us with tickets, just before the game was about to start.

Thinking that he was selling them, Jason told him, "We're okay, we're waiting for our tickets to print."

"I'm not selling these." the man said, "I'd like you to have them for free, my wife and I have some extra tickets."

So, Jason returned to the "Will Call" window and cancelled the order for his tickets and we entered the stadium before the first pitch. The tickets that we were given were terrific....right behind the team's dugout, much more costly and closer to the field than the tickets that we had been waiting on.

As we sat watching the game, I thought about how interesting it was that if things had worked out perfectly, as we had planned, we would have gotten our tickets without delay at the "Will Call" window...but would have been seated high atop the stadium. Because of the problem, we were delayed long enough to be blessed by the kindness of a stranger.

For me, I try my best to avoid difficulty. But I need to be reminded that there is much to be gained from difficult circumstances. Pastor John Piper quotes Paul Brand in the book "Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants":

"Nearly all my memories of acute happiness, in fact, involve some element of pain or struggle."

He also quotes Charles Spurgeon:
"They who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls."

Thinking about this whole idea of difficulty and blessing, reminded me of what our pastor, Dave Workman talked about this past weekend: that God will brings tests (or difficultly) in our lives to help change us. Here are a few examples in Scripture that Dave noted:

"God spoke through the prophet Zechariah and said that He will 'refine (His people) as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' and they will say, 'The Lord is my God.'' (Zechariah 13:9). Another time He reminded Jeremiah 'I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind...' (Jeremiah 17:10a). "

Maybe someday difficulty won't surprise me and I'll find it easy to embrace and even rejoice in difficulty. Until then, I feel like I have a lot to learn.

Blessings, Dave

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