I Can Do All Things?

I have a confession to make. I have a secret passion. Well maybe not so secret if you ask my family. I love (use your best WWE announcer voice) American Ninja Warriors. I have always been fascinated with obstacle course competitions from Superstars to Wipe Out and now Ninja Warriors. Even as I watched last night, I thought to myself about which obstacle I could do. Of course, I would have to fully rehab my injured leg, then lose some weight, and train really hard at a Ninja Warrior gym plus possibly have surgery on an old left shoulder injury and then just maybe I could… Who am I kidding?  The possibility of my ascending  Mount Midoriyama or even completing the simplest obstacle is about as likely my wife watching an entire Friday night movie without falling asleep.  As much as I daydream of standing before the crowd as the Nuclear Ninja (the name that I would have Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila announce me as), I know that it’s not going to happen.    I only need to recall an incident last summer to bring me back to reality.  Sherry and I were serving as counselors at the camp our church youth group was attending in Kentucky.  It was a pretty awesome camp with some great amenities.  This included a lake with a blob, slides, trampolines to do flips and a zip line.  I was able to  drop on the blob and launch one of our young men into the stratosphere but then I began to have visions of grandeur well above my capabilities.  After watching lots of teens doing flips off an floating island with a couple of trampolines, I thought, “Why not?  It’s just a coordinated fall and you land in water.  What could go wrong?”  Maybe I should have consulted my knees before making the attempt because they both elected to not cooperate resulting in hitting the lake face first on one half flip that would have scored in negative numbers.  If my total humiliation wasn’t complete, another of our young men wanted me to go on the two person zip line with him.  The safety equipment did not include a harness.  You were supposed to simply grab the handle, jump, go whizzing across the lake to eventually drop safely into the water.  Not learning from my prior lake encounter, I thought , “What could go wrong?  Worst comes to worst I drop into the water a little early.”  I think the saying goes, “Fool me once shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  It was definitely shame on me.  Everything was going fine right up to the point that my feet left the platform.  The old softball injury in my left shoulder allowed me a nanosecond reprieve before it decided that it didn’t sign up for this and quit in protest.  My right joined in solidarity after a brief holdout.  Luckily I cleared the platform but I think I had several come to Jesus moments before I hit the water.  I’m not really sure how but I hit on both my front and back at the same time.  I hit the water with enough velocity that it took hours to get my swim suit out of where it didn’t belong.  On top of that I was convinced that I  left parts of my shoulders attached to the handle because I wasn’t sure they were attached to my body any longer.  It was Ninja Warrior blooper level at best.

With that being said, I guess that precludes a trip to stand in the walk on line at the next city Ninja Warrior trial.  This also makes me rethink my understanding of the verse “I can do all things…” .   Too often I stop there.  When I leave off the rest of the verse, then I’m only relying on me and what I can do.  There are some things I can’t do no matter how much I want or how hard I work at it, like climb Mount Midoriyama or be an all star shortstop for the Atlanta Braves.   I may not have that talent or physical capability to do all things.   If I leave the rest of the verse out, I leave out the One who makes all things possible.  “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  The through Christ is the important part.  I need to ask Him first what it is He wants me to do and if it is through Him, I can do it. He will give me the strength.  I’m sometimes guilty of making plans, asking God to bless them, and then fussing if they fail.  I need to first go ” through Christ” to find out what “all things”  I need to be doing.  When I do that, He will give me the strength to do what He wants.

Unless I hear it directly from the Lord, I guess the Nuclear Ninja will never be the next American Ninja Warrior.

Philippians 4:13

13 I am able to do all things through Him[a] who strengthens me.

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