My local theater is showing a movie called “Call Sign Romeo.” It was completely filmed on the Outer Banks, taking advantage of our picturesque vistas and vibrant sunsets. It tells the story of a young high school wrestler who lives in a state of perpetual motion as he navigates the treacherous waters of school sports, big dreams, young romance, and his own sense of importance as he learns the value of “we over me.” His desire to one day become a Navy fighter pilot like his deceased father undergirds his ambition, which is often derailed by his arrogance and ego. This coming-of-age story is wonderfully told by a local doctor-turned-screenwriter, with a lot of local kids and adult actors filling the screen with great enthusiasm and sincerity.
Our hero learns the hard way that life is a team sport. He realizes that he will keep faltering and failing as long as he puts his faith only in himself while excluding the others around him. When he matures enough to put his team first and becomes a true leader, his own goals are met.
There is no shame in that game.
God calls all of us into this team sport called life together. We find ourselves on the wrestling mat over and over again, hoping to do better than we did in the last match.
We wrestle with temptation.
We wrestle with addiction.
We wrestle with entitlement and self-righteousness.
We wrestle with the need to be right.
We wrestle with depression, grief, and inertia.
What are you wrestling with today?
In the book of Romans, Paul talks about what happens when the constant wrestling with daily problems overwhelms us. Do we give in? Or do we endure?
Romans 5 (Common English Bible)
5 Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory.
When we boast in our own accomplishments, we reap the results that ego-driven behavior usually produces. That kind of emptiness is not what Christ intends for us. But when we boast in the hope of God’s glory, we acknowledge his power and might over our circumstances and claim that in all things, he works for our good. Even our problems.
3 But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4 endurance produces character, and character produces hope. 5 This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
What problem is plaguing you today? Are you in trouble? Have you surrounded yourself with effective teammates? You can rest in the knowledge that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and all of these things lead you to HOPE. All you have to do is to yield to God. God has a future planned for you and it is a future with HOPE! (Jeremiah 29:11).
So, if you feel as though life is slamming you down and you’re trapped in a “Whizzer” (look it up!), hang on. God is on the mat with you and your faith in him will help you to prevail.