Wrestling is in my blood. For as far back as I can remember and in as many generations of my family as I can recall, wrestling has always been in our DNA. There may have been a few of us that tried wrestling in high school or college, but the wrestling I am talking about is the professional kind. Hulk Hogan, Rick Flair and the Four Horseman, the Von Ericks and the Freebirds and Rick Martel, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, Sensational Sherrie and other legends of the squared ring.
Several years back I watched a match involving a young Dustin Rhodes. In the weeks prior to this particular match, Dustin had been constantly attacked and was in need of someone to help him or be his eyes and ears during his matches. No one came to his aide. Just to add in a little side story Dustin's father is a wrestler also a.k.a. "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. Father and son have had a falling out and are currently enstranged. Their disagreement stems from the son feeling superior to his father and wanting to do things his own way. (add to) The son had not gained the necessary experience
Coming back to the match at hand, Dustin is again under attack and the prospects of help coming from another wrestler are slim. All of a sudden the crowd goes wild and out of nowhere appears.....Dusty Rhodes "the American Dream", Dustins father.
Now at this time I am literally jumping with excitement. First, the crowd reaction has got me on edge. Second, I am wondering who could it be. Having been a fan of wrestling long enough, I have learned to read the crowd.
I scream at the top of my lungs "yeah". The father has come to the aide of his son and within a matter of 30-45 seconds the pair fight off the attackers and are alone in the ring to revel in victory over their bruised and hapless foes. When the Rhodes tandem are sure that all is well, they face each other and appear to 'eye each other up'. Not long forgotten tensions rise and the crowd brace for a showdown. A palpable tension fills the arena.
Dustin just looks at his dad with uncertainty in his eyes. Feeling satisfied he nods a thank you for coming to his aide. But Dusty takes it one step further.
"Son. I see what has been happening to you week after week after week. And I want you to know that if you want some help, I am hear. When everyone else forsook you and turned their backs on you i said my son needs me. Well, here I am! I don't need to sign on the dotted line of a contract. All I want is a hug and a handshake to seal the deal." With that said, Dusty and Dustin, father and son embrace putting the past behind them. The crowds erupts. (I tear up a little.)
Dustin began to realize, he really does need his father. Not just as a dad, but as a mentor, counselor and friend. He was wrong to discount his fathers sage advice. His dad did not want him to fall into the same traps he fell into when he first started in the wrestling business.
God treats us that way, where He wants nothing but the best for us and only asks that we seek His counsel and stay close to Him as we go through life. But when we go in a direction He advises against, He allows it. NOT because He does not care, but because we need to learn to trust in the Father. The people who come beside us appear to be our friends but only use us for their gain. Over time when we fall out of favor and realize how hasty the decision was to go our own way, the enemy begins to attack us. To whom do we turn? Our pleas for help have gone unheard. Those who on many occassions professed to be our friends have abandoned us. Our faith is now weakened. The One person we should call on, we have walked away from. Shame fills us and we regret having gone against the wishes of our Father. Yet, no matter the road we choose to travel, and bad decisions we make along the way God will never leave us or forsake us. His holy word tells us.
Just as the prodigal son returned home humbled by what transpired in his life and how much he missed his father we too can return to ours.
The prodigals father did not ask for him to agree to certain conditions upon his return. Instead, he hugged him and kissed him and loved him. Dusty wanted his son to know that conditions are not necessary. "Just tell me you love me and all is forgiven." Dusty said.
Dustin replied "I love you dad."
Proverbs 10:12 and 1Peter 4:8 both say "Love covers a multitude of sins."
I had the pleasure of talking with two wonderful people from my church after work yesterday. They are Lenny and Bobbie, husband and wife. Lenny and Bobbie were in the mall shopping and I was making my way home when we chatted for a few minutes.
After we talked Bobbie says "let me ask you a question?"
I say "sure".
"We were talking, Lenny and I, just the other day and we were trying to remember 'How did we come to know each other'?"
The answer I recall with ease.
"I was working in the video game store when a former employee of yours, James MacAfee, invited me to see one of your presentations."
Like a blast from the past Lenny remembers James. "Wow! James MacAfee. I forgot about him. Is that when you met Marlon also?"
"Actually this is about six months before I met your brother." I add. "Marlon invited me to visit your church and I saw you there leading the worship and I said 'I know that man from somewhere'? Then it dawned on me where I had met you."
Lenny then says something truly God gifted. "It is amazing how for a season God put James MacAfee in both ours lives at almost the same time. James invited you to a meeting. We meet and just for that short time James is with us and here you are a permanent part in our lives since that day. For a season and life."
Definitely God ordained.
In a future blog I will tell you the story of how Marlon and I met and how God used him to bring me back to His borders and my first love.
I find the word of God troubling at times because of my lack of understanding of some scriptures. However, there are times when the scriptures I do read come through LOUD and CLEAR.
While reading from the books of Acts last night I came across the term 'it was necessary'.
(Found in Acts 13:46-48)
What was necessary in this case is the Gentiles (non-Jewish) people would now be afforded the chance to inherit eternal salvation thought the hearing of the gospel message. Why? As we know, the Jewish nation has rejected the claim that Jesus Christ was the long promised Messiah they had been looking for. Let me add the scripture: Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles."
Recently I have been sharing with several people at work and one person in particular has even threatened me with physical harm. (His words were empty). But, as I recall most of the accounts of the early church, violence was a part of the reason for spreading of the salvation message. My concern is not the gospel or the violence. Just as Israel was passed over because of their rejection of Messiah; at what point when those we share with continually reject Jesus and are passed over themselves? Will it be for a season? Will that season of silence cause them to look inwardly and somehow realize their need for repentance? What trial or tribulation will they experience at the hand of God causes them to rethink their position? Although Israel was passed over they were not forgotten. God did send apostles and disciples and others to proclaim Jesus and a great many people gained eternal life. The cost was great but the reward is far greater. I shudder to think what will happen in a persons life that will cause them to finally acknowledge their need for Jesus in their lives? Or they finally realize they have no hope because of hardened hearts.
By the grace of God, His love reached me. I so want others to see God's love for them, but sadly His Word says many will not.
It was necessary for me to see God's love through the death of my mother, because all I could think about was how much she loved God and was rooted in prayer and His word. Quite often I have wanted my mothers faith. Life never seemed to difficult for her because she only depended on God. It is necessary for me to have my difficulties in life and I will. But, those moments in the valley are making it necessary for me to grow from glory to glory.
I will pray for my coworkers and do so until I expel my last breath on this earth. It is necessary until they see it. I just pray that day comes before the Lord does and they find themselves in His presence where Jesus is their Saviour and not their Judge.