WatchForce, this one is for you.
I love games! Football, wrestling, video games, name it! Hold it! People in glass houses should not throw stones. So before you start wondering what kind of a big kid I am, know that you are just like me. Every day we are both involved in one game or another albeit with higher stakes than just a surge of adrenaline.
Games are about victory and defeat, with trophies in tow and so is life. Life is a game! A huge aspect of life is about winning “trophies” e.g. certificates, spouses, huge cheques, business deals, good jobs, bigger houses, visas, endorsements and so on. This is why we usually celebrate like athletes winning a championship when we acquire these things.
Games usually operate within the confinements of rules. Hence, every player has to play by the rules to be eligible. However, sometimes some external factors by omission or commission superimpose on the rules and change the dynamics of a game. This is also typical in life.
In 1966, England won the world cup because the referee counted a goal that did not cross the line against Germany. The 2000 edition of the African Cup of Nations was won by Cameroun because Nigeria’s Victor Ikpeba’s penalty kick was deemed by the official in charge not to have crossed the line even though it did. What about prolonged extra time, unfairly awarded penalties and red cards, justified penalties and cards that were not given?
The referee has the final word in a football game and God help anyone who queries the decision. The person gets sanctioned for his trouble and the referee does not owe anyone apologies. In a game of football, no matter how great or how prepared the team, everything is hinged on the decision of the referee. The referee can turn a blind eye to any situation as he pleases. He can be a game changer.
In the game of life, there is One Who rules in the affairs of men. He is the Umpire of life! He calls the shots and all bow to the power of His words. Furthermore no one dares question Him; you do that to your peril! This is why He is called “Kabiyesi” meaning “The Unquestionable One” by Yorubas. He is All Sovereign and laws bend to His will! Amongst others, there are three major ways by which He influences a game.
Bethsaida was a pitch where a frenetic competition was perpetually played by cripples and rejects. The rule of the game was such that an angelic being stirs a pool and the first person to breast the pool’s tape gets a trophy in the form of healing. Like a World Wrestling Entertainment bout, some amount of “cheating” was allowed, the competitors could get external help. However, there was a contestant who had been playing for thirty eight years and was nowhere near getting close to victory. He was a loser extraordinaire! Most pathetically, he had no one to help him. One day, Jesus rode into the barren desert of his existence and changed the landscape of the sport. He discountenanced the rules of the game and made the man walk without him dipping in the pool. An angel did not even come close to stirring the waters this time. The rules were suspended. The paralytic won the game that day without striving or stressing.
Ancient Israel, rule of the game was that if you got caught coupling indiscriminately with a man, the prize was stony death. A woman got caught in the very act and was whiskers away from horrific, painful extirpation. Jesus stepped in and annulled the law in her favour and she left with the trophy of life.
Nebuchadnezzar’s court, a game of unanswerable riddles. Victory meant promotion and wealth, losing meant death. All were stymied, the best of the land on a losing streak and were marked for death. Four Hebrew men were amongst those to be quartered. The quartet cried unto the Game Changer for mercy (Daniel 2:18). He heard and gave a winning strategy. They got the trophies of promotion.
The finals of the last world cup left me brokenhearted. Yeah, you guessed right, I am an Argentine fan. The finals had both teams with their best footballers in array. No quarter was asked for or given. At the end both teams were somewhat evenly matched. Then Argentina subbed Sergio Aguero for Ezequiel Lavezzi. Aguero was supposed to be a better player but his coming in made his country’s game dip. On the other hand, the Germans changed a veteran Miroslav Klose for a young Mario Gotze. The young man who was not being given the light of day by his coach in his club, Bayern Munich, went ahead to score a sublime goal that would be immortalized in the annals of football history. The brilliance of the substitution by the German coach changed the game and saved the day. Joachim Low’s insight and perception won the cup. A move that seemed inferior by judgement produced superior results.
A Moabite alliance came against Judah in a game of thrones. Judah was outmatched in every department. Defeat meant captivity for the Jews. At the end of their tether, they appealed to the Game Changer and He changed the rules of the game. Jehoshaphat was told to substitute soldiers for singers and swords for cymbals. The dimension of the battle changed. A ridiculous strategy of war turned out into sublime victory. The victory was comprehensive for the Jews.
Naaman, strong Syrian General. A name that struck chill into the heart of the fiercest foe and hero of hundreds of battles. He was struck by a debilitating skin disease that was worse than any enemy he had faced on a battle field. It was a crippling sickness that diminished the honour of the badges on his shoulders. He was a man accustomed to victory and could not believe that he was about to lose a game. The best dermatologists in the land were consulted and all their expertise failed abysmally. His search for a solution finally led him to someone who had a gift of revelation. The prophet was connected to the Game Changer and asked the diseased man to go take a bath in a stinky canal. The General was affronted. The proposed action was a poor substitute compared to that which he was used to. “Why not a sauna bath in the best spa in the land (with nubile masseuses to boot)?” he asked. A glamorous man asked to perform an unglamorous act. He eventually forfeited his pride, obeyed and took a smelly shower. He won and got the medal of a new skin.
Teams spend hundreds of millions on footballers who are game changers. In the last world cup, a few come to mind, James Rodriguez, Arjen Robben and Lionel Messi. In the past, Maradonna and Pele were two of the very best. These guys have great ability. When things are uphill, a moment of magic from these stars can turn things around. It never hurts anyone to have such guys on a team especially when the odds are high.
However, human game changers do not always meet to expectation. Messi gets exhausted, Ronaldo gets injured, and Maradonna does drugs to get ahead. Sometimes when the chips are down, they crumble like cookies.
Like a third division team facing a premiership champion, the disciples of Jesus on a certain day found themselves matched against a tempest. It was a boxing match where the wind buffeted their ship with stormy fists. They tried to out row, out steer the wind but came up short. They were about to lose badly in a competition where the winner was going to swallow the vanquished whole. Things were going to end in a swim-fest where they would end up as fish food. They cried for help! Fortunately, there was a Game Changer in the ship, One Who rules unruly waves. He defies the laws of gravity and walks on water. With no bead of sweat sprouting on his forehead, He quietened the tantrum of the winds and put the storm to sleep with the tranquilizer of His words. His ability was so prodigious that the disciples wondered who He was. They never knew that The Game Changer’s words were lullabies to cantankerous waves.
Rule of the game, a man and woman must play ball to score the goal of a baby. The Game Changer, to achieve an unprecedented result snorted at the rule. He manufactured living spermatozoa from His essence and blew them into the fallopian tubes of a virgin. She conceived and delivered a boy, a Saviour. He engaged the prince of darkness in a wrestling feud that humanity had lost since time’s infancy. He won a resounding victory for mankind.
Life can be an unfair game, so a majority of the time, we are in contention with elements stronger and bigger than us. Fair enough we don’t need millions of dollars to get The Game Changer on our side. If life is bullying you and you are some goals down, then engage the Game Changer. He never sleeps yet never gets fagged out! He is consistently consistent and never has an off day!
All we need do is believe. Ask for His mercy, pray for the expression of his wisdom and the display of his power. In the midst of life’s battles, he stacks water on water like piles of bricks to form a desert dry corridor through the sea. He prevents the weary sun from going to sleep and stops the moon from making its night rounds to give his children extra time until a battle is won (ask Joshua. He faced a coalition of kings and had to destroy them all. God did not blow the whistle this time even after extra time until Joshua was done. Our Game Changer is The Time Lord of the universe. The game never ends for you without his say so). Who is the Game Changer to you? Has He ever influenced the game of life in your favour? Please, I would like to hear about it. Do not hoard your trophies of victory. TESTIFY!!!!
IT IS NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH OR OF HIM THAT RUNNETH, IT IS OF GOD THAT SHOWETH MERCY…….
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©2014 Ekpo Ezechinyere