The God of Overtime

Overtime. Not a fan. Particularly in college football. Anytime I’m watching a game that seems destined for overtime I’m tempted to zone out.

In my Bible reading plan this morning this subject was presented through the story of Elijah. 1 Kings 18 records the awesome display by God on Mt. Carmel. After something like that, you’d think game over, right? Nope. Immediately Elijah goes into overtime with Queen Jezebel. She’s out for blood.

Ever had that feeling? You’ve given all you had, thought it was enough, but quickly realized there’s more to come, to finish the journey. And maybe like Elijah, you thought, “Seriously. Not sure I got anything left. I want out.” 

“Overtime” comes when you least expect it. Perhaps your marriage goes through a big crisis and you’re reconciled but, all of a sudden, one argument seems to threaten it all. Or, maybe you’re a business owner and you landed the big contract when, all of a sudden, a competitor surfaces with a competing bid. Or, maybe the chemo treatments are over, but there is a new scan that raises questions and new treatment is recommended. Overtime. (excerpt from Everyday Miracles @Youversion reading plan)

In Elijah’s case, God sent an angel to minister to him. He didn’t sugarcoat the situation. He simply met Elijah where he was, prepared him to stay in rather than get out.

That’s who God is-the God of staying in. He has what you need in overtime. He’s been in overtime ever since the Garden of Eden. Surely He can help you in yours.

How might your overtime praying go? To give you a jumpstart, here’s the prayer at the end of the reading plan devotional:

Lord, when the spirit of Jezebel attacks, I know you are near. There is no discouragement that can overtake me when I know you are with me. When the unexpected “overtime” moments of life catch me by surprise, give me the grace to continue in the full armor of God. Though discouragement may crouch at the door, show me the great journey that you have set before me. Lift up my head and give my eyes a new vision for this new day. Thank you for the victory that has been secured in Jesus. It is in his name I pray, amen.


3 Questions to Determine if You’re Whining

Let’s be honest. There are plenty of ills in the world that can cause us grief. Many of these ills should grieve us. 

  • Starving, malnourished children in the richest country in the world
  • Sex trafficking in the local community
  • Child abuse or neglect in neighborhood homes
  • The destructiveness of pornography in one’s family
  • Extremists who twist religious beliefs into life-taking deeds in the land of the free and the home of the brave

These are examples of things that when we choose to talk about them we do so because we are grieved.

It’s troubling, however, to hear recurring, ongoing conversations that express the same weight of grief over lesser important things. They are not really ills at all. They are more about what we want or expect at a much lower level of societal importance, mostly because of a personal, emotional connection. And the amount of time given to complain about these things makes listeners stop and ask, “Really?”

  • Whether THAT coworker gets preferential treatment
  • Whether THAT team deflated those footballs
  • Whether THAT HOA can…
  • Whether THAT athlete deserves the hall of fame
  • Whether THAT family member should have done what they did

Let’s be honest. There’s a whole bunch of whining going on. Too much.

To be clear about what constitutes whining, here are a few defintions:

  • Whine: to complain in a petty or feeble way
  • Petty: unimportant, trivial, small-minded
  • Feeble: weak, without strength, force or effectiveness

If you’ve ever privately questioned if you’ve crossed the venting or complaining line and entered into full-blown whining, most likely the answer is yes. If you are obsessed with some petty issue and continue to stew over it, most likely the answer is yes. If your complaint is legit but you are completely powerless to do anything about it, most likely you have entered whine world. But to help you determine if you are engulfed by whining, ask yourself these three questions:

How long have I been voicing this same complaint?

  • If it has been months or even years that you have harped on this same topic, consider yourself a whiner. Your issue may be very legit; but if you have not acted on it to impact change, the feebleness of your complaint constitutes a whine.

Does what I’m complaining about have a solution within my power to achieve?

  • Most likely the issue has a solution. But not all issues we complain about are within our power to control, solve, or turn around.  In those cases, the complaint has little force or strength. It is nothing more than a powerless whine.

If so, does this conversation have a solution-based drive?

  • In the case where a complainer does have the opportunity to bring about a solution, then that should be the drive of the conversation. If that drive is missing, the complaint is a very feeble whine.

Let’s be honest. We are all tempted to whine. 

Let’s be honest. We can do better.

Let’s be honest. God grieves but doesn’t whine. We should consider our choices.