It was our first-time attending Battle of the Books. This whole process was new to all of us. No one really knew quite what to expect or could predict what was next. I watched the teams of four sit at the tables as their faces lit up when they recognized the answers to the questions being asked. You could see them struggle through as they discussed different texts to determine which one was the best. When they figured it out, their smiles were contagious.
As a parent, I knew when my daughter was struggling just as much as I knew when she was happy and confident in her response. In this event, I couldn’t say a word. I couldn’t hand her the notebook that she studied from. I couldn’t say “Just answer with your best guess. Your time is almost out.” There wasn’t a visible clock in the room. She didn’t know how long she had.
When she would get stuck, my heart would beat fast. I hoped some of the team around her knew the correct response. I hoped that they knew the text, that they would give her the information she needed to make the correct choice.
No, they didn’t compete perfectly but, they did their best and that was all I hoped for. I hope that they learned from this experience and if they are given another chance to compete next year that they will succeed even more than they expect.
As I replayed this event in my mind, I thought of so many ways this relates to our faith.
Our God sees us when we’re happy and I can’t imagine the joy that He gets when we make the right choices and function as a team that knows His text.
I also can’t imagine what He feels like when He sees us struggle. When we walk through the struggles, do we rely on Him and those around us who have studied His word?
Are the people that surround us, the people on our team, ones who want what’s best?
Do they remind us of truth when we aren’t so sure?
As far as the timer and not knowing when the time is up, our lives are this way. We have no idea when we will hear “time is up.” Have we prepared enough?
When going into a Battle of the Books competition you study the text before being asked questions about it. Doesn’t that sound a lot like our life? Isn’t each day that we walk out into the world, each day that we wake up with breath in our lungs, an opportunity to give the text that we have studied back to the world?
I was once asked a very challenging question: If the Bible was taken away tomorrow how much would I know by heart?
So, as we are in the Lenten season, as we are taking steps towards the cross and the empty tomb, I am reminded that I should be thankful for the team around me, for the truth they speak into my life, and the way they encourage positive growth.
I am thankful for the team that helps to solve problems and to talk through them.
I am thankful that we live in a country where we can carry a written copy of the Bible around without fear of persecution.
I am thankful we have a God who loves us, who celebrates with us and walks with us in the confusing times when we’re trying to find the right answer.
Lastly, I am thankful that I’ve been given a little more time, for I am a work in progress and have a lot more studying to do.
We are so thankful that you are a God that has all the answers. We are thankful for the ways that you speak to your children through their very own. We ask that you would be a catalyst, that you would give us more of a desire to study your word and to be a team around each other. Help us to use our time on this Earth wisely. Thank you for the gift of your written word. I pray it is a book that we all are willing to battle for. We love you.