March 11, 2012

Klondike and other addicting habits…

Have you ever played the game, Klondike?  It’s very similar to Solitaire but with its own challenges.  I’ve played it long enough now I can’t quite remember exactly what's different between it and Solitaire, though.  I do know, however, that it's addicting.

Let me go back a few years… well, maybe 19 years or so.  It all started with the Gameboy.  Do you remember?  I was obviously NOT a teenager when the game came out, but I was newly married and my wonderful husband treated me with a Gameboy of my very own with the best game around – Tetris.  After learning how it should be played, I quickly became addicted to beat my score.  So much that I could get enthralled in it for hours.  After months of this, I realized this wasn’t the best lifestyle choice.  Luckily, I misplaced my Gameboy for a number of years and all returned back to “normal”, whatever that is.

Fast forward to recent years when I cell phones began offering games to play.  Just so you don’t get me wrong, I am really not that interested in learning new games… ask anyone in my family and they’ll verify.  But, when I do figure out a game, it becomes obsessive.  With my first game-laden phone, I didn’t know what the games were but did recognize the game Solitaire.  Bless my sweet Grandma Kirk’s heart… we learned how to play Solitaire (with real cards) back when we were in elementary school.  It has hung on through the years as a great play-alone-when-you-don’t-want-to-do-anything-else kind of game.  So, I began playing Solitaire on my cell phone.

Since this story is already getting far too long, I’ll jump forward again a few years.  I had just replaced my phone with a Blackberry.  It did NOT have Solitaire.  I was so bummed.  However, a game called Klondike looked sort of like Solitaire so I figured I could probably figure it out.  Bailey was still playing basketball.  I remember sitting as we watched a full day of tourney games and found myself playing Klondike while we waited.  Someone actually saw me playing it and mentioned how they didn’t like the game because they could never win.  What a great challenge, I thought. 

It does take a lot of “losses” in the game… those dead ends where you keep flipping the cards and realizing there is no more play to be made… before you finally WIN.  But when you do win, it becomes an even greater challenge to win again… and quicker than last time.

Now my latest phone gives me my winning score and compares it to my last highest score.  This has offered me an even greater challenge.  I keep losing until I finally win… then I keep trying it over and over again to try to be my last highest score. 

Well, I finally beat my highest score TODAY after trying for a few months now!!!  Yes, my highest score had been sitting at around 8,600.  The closest I had come was about 8,100 but usually I end with 6,000-7,000 points.  Today’s score was 9,115! J  Yippee!!!  What’s the craziest part about all of this is that right after seeing my new highest score, I couldn’t just be satisfied with winning and stop playing.  I had to play it again a few more times before giving up.

Now for the analogy that hit me while I was playing it today and scored big… We just heard a most powerful message this morning from Pastor Dave Engbrecht about prayer.  He was recounting the story of when God asked Elijah to pray for no rain and it didn’t rain for 3 ½ years.  Then, when God spoke again, He told him to pray for rain… and he did.  I King 18:41 says, “Elijah said to Ahab, “Up on your feet!  Eat and drink – celebrate!  Rain is on the way; I hear it coming.”  Elijah then went to the top of Mount Carmel and prayed.  He sent his servant to the sea to check for rain… SEVEN times.  The servant kept returning with no sign of rain.  But, Elijah believed the impossible was going to happen… and on the 7th trip, the servant saw a small cloud, which was then followed by a great torrent of rainfall!

Dave challenged us to pray… pray2!  Fervently pray for the IMPOSSIBLE with FAITH!  As we began worshipping, I was broken.  I’ve prayed for God to make the impossible possible… this seemingly-impossible need for a great multitude of ministry support partners so we can begin our ministry in France.  But, have I REALLY prayed?!  It seems like I’m praying when I wake up and when I lie down… I’m praying throughout the day… talking to God and begging Him to make a WAY.  But, am I really bowed down, face between my knees like Elijah and desperately praying for our miracle???

As I consider my addictions to Klondike, Solitaire and Tetris, my heart is so troubled.  I had to wonder today why I can be so faithful, almost to a fault, at continuing on with a game after losing, losing and losing again… just for the eventual possibility of winning, yet I am so wimpy, quick to doubt, and lacking in faith about the most important call that God has placed on our lives in a very long time!!!
With a new commitment to begin a deeper prayer walk with God, I am challenging myself to pray like I play… never giving up, passionately pursuing God, seeking His will without distraction, obsessively pleading for His hand to do what to us seems impossible!

James 5:10-11 challenges us so well…

Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything,
went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God.
What a gift life is to those who stay the course!
You've heard, of course, of Job's staying power,
and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end.
That's because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.

What are you addicted to today?  Is God challenging you to focus that same addictive passion to something He wants of you?  Are you willing to pursue His challenge – and WIN?!

Thanks, Dave, for a great message - and challenge!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Chris! Wonderful personal story to challenge me and help me evaluate my prayer life.