PAUL WANTED TO BE IN HEAVEN but needed to be on earth. In a temporal sort of way, this time of year, I share his frustration.
I am hard pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and watch the NFL . . . yet to remain in the pulpit is more necessary for your sake.
PHILIPPIANS 1:23–24, SWINDOLL PARAPHRASE
Now don’t get me wrong. I love to preach. But I also love professional football. With only minor adjustments, both “loves” can be maintained without much difficulty, but on Sundays when there’s a big game, I freely admit, I have a conflict. I’ve thought of all sorts of alternative plans:
Have church on Saturday.
Have the guys in the booth broadcast the game into an earphone in my ear.
Ask an usher to signal the score periodically.
Have only singing in the second service.
Call in sick.
As you’ll notice, each “solution” has its problems. Conflicts lead to frustration—especially the ones much more serious than the one I just described. Often, you’re left with the feeling of being “blocked” from doing what you want to do because of something you must do. Subtract the power of Christ, the wisdom of His Word, the calming presence of the Holy Spirit, and you have unbearable collisions that lead to unbelievable tragedies.
I do have one solution that will at least ease the burden of conflict when consistently applied: prayer. Paul wrote,
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
There’s no substitute for bringing everything—especially those thorny conflicts—to the Lord and then experiencing His indescribable peace.