Tension On The Line

One of my all-time favorite kids carnival games is “The Fishing Game.” That’s the game where you hang sheets up over a frame of some type, and tape fish to them on the outside. An adult sits behind the sheets with bags of goodies. Kids walk up to the “pond,” and are handed a broom handle or other stick with string tied to the end of it, which acts as their “fishing pole.” Tied to the end of the string is a clothes pin to serve as the “hook.” The kid then tosses their “hook” over the sheet “into the water,” and the adult behind the sheet clips a prize of some type to the clip. Then the adult pulls the string, putting some tension on it, thereby letting the child know that they have “caught” something. The child pulls back and lifts their prize “out of the water,” over the top of the sheet and cheers with excitement over their “catch.”

The thing I love about this game is that you are guaranteed to catch something good every time you play. It’s fun for the kid. It’s fun for the adult sitting behind the sheet creating the sense of joy for the youngsters. No matter how many times you do it, it never gets old.

I was reminded of this game the other day as I was digging around some online study tools while looking into a familiar verse of Scripture, one of the most famous promises in the Word. The verse is Isaiah 40:31, and the first part of it reads…

But those trust in the Lord will find new strength.”

Some versions say “wait on the Lord.” And it was the word “wait” or “trust” which got my attention. In the original language, it is a word picture of a rope or cord… especially one which is under tension.

That’s what waiting and having to trust the Lord to come through for us feels like, isn’t it? Tension. If we aren’t getting what we feel like we need or want, we tend to get tense… concerned… worried… stressed. We can begin to wonder if the rope we are holding onto is going to hold. If it does hold, is there anything good at the other end. Tension on the line.

This is where the rest of the verse kicks in. That phrase, “new strength,” refers to a rope that has been braided for extra strength and is guaranteed to hold up under the tension. In other words, when we hold onto the rope knowing the Lord is on the other end of it, the tension tells there is something to look forward to, and we can be sure it is strong because He has braided the rope so that it will hold up under the tension. It’s just like the “fishing game.” When you feel the tension, and you know someone good is on the other end, you know something good is coming.

Perhaps you have thrown your line over the sheet today in life. You can’t see what is on the other side. You hope you come away from this season of life with something good. If you feel the tension, that’s actually a good thing. It means God is on the other end giving it a tug, showing you it’s strong enough and that He is sending something good your way! Accept the tension. Give it a lift even. You’ll win every time… if you just trust in God!

Big Brothers

In 1981, Angela’s family moved from Adel, GA to North Hodge, LA. Angela was in first grade, and everyone knows that adjusting to a new school is hard enough, but then she started having less to eat for lunch each day. One afternoon, she came home from school hungry as she could be, and asked her mama why she had only packed her half a sandwich for lunch. When Mama informed her that she HAD packed her a full sandwich AND other food that morning, they realized something was afoot. With a little attention paid to the situation, they discovered that a little boy in Angela’s class was bothering her and sneaking into her lunchbox to take food from of her each day.

As good parents, they tried to do everything they could do to help her deal with the problem. They told the teacher. They told Angela to watch her lunchbox carefully. But still, tears came each day when it was time to leave for school.

That is, until….

Until one day when her big brother, Tim… who just happened to be nine years older and in tenth grade… took matters into his own hands! Tim is typically fairly reserved and relaxed. But he had had enough of his little sister being bullied. So, one morning on the way to school he told her, “You tell that little boy that your brother said that… if he bothers you today… in the morning when he sees this old yellow truck coming, he had better run and hide!”

And guess what… No more tears! Suddenly, Angela was emboldened. Suddenly, she realized there was a remedy for her situation. Suddenly, she realized that her adversary had been outsized, outsmarted and outmatched. Confidence was gained that day by her big brother’s words! Simply hearing him speak those words gave her the strength and confidence she needed that day… and each day going forward. She knew that all she had to do would be to mention to Tim that she was having a problem, and he would be there to set the situation right.

Here’s the good news… each person who gives their life to God has a big Brother in Jesus Christ. Scripture calls Him the first-born… and our older brother. And He spoke words which should give us the same confidence to overcome our enemies. He said in John 16:33 that when we have problems in life, we simply need to let Him know because He is big enough, strong enough, smart enough, and capable enough to take care of them for us. In fact, He lets us know that He has overcome this world and its problems.

Facing a challenge today that seems like you just can’t fix it? Can’t make it go away? Can’t beat it? Can’t stop it? Can’t overcome it on your own? Just take a moment to let your Big Brother know. When the enemy of your soul sees Him coming, he had better run and hide!

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