"No, Luke! That's not how you play!"
"Stop it, Noah- I want to play this way."
"But Luke, this is my game and I'm the boss!"
"Fine, I'm not playing this game. I'm going to play my own game."
I watched this conversation take place right in front of my eyes as I laid down on our game room floor for a little "Trouble! Scooby Doo Edition." For those of you who have not played the game before, here's a simple breakdown: each player has four pieces which start in your base. You take turns "popping" the dice (it's in a little plastic dome). You have to get a "1" or a "6" to get out of your base and start moving around the board. The first person to get all four pieces out of your base, around the board and into your "home" is the winner.
But here's the catch, and the frustrating part of the game (and the reason for the above conversation): if another player's game piece lands on your game piece, that game piece is returned to base and you have to start all over. Now that you know the rules, here's what happened:
Luke and I were having fairly favorable rolls (or pops) of the dice and we were moving around the board with ease. Noah, however, was having trouble popping a "1" or a "6" to get started. He finally rolled a "1" and was super excited. However, the trouble came on the next turn when Luke popped a 4 and landed on Noah's game piece. Noah got upset. He didn't like the rules. He wanted the rules to change to suit him. Frustration...fight...game over.
As I watched this scene unfold I thought about what hinders my relationship with God so many time: selfishness. What I have learned about myself and my kids is that no one had to train us to be selfish. We do it quite naturally, and we're pretty good at it.
That's what makes Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane so powerful, divine and intriguing: "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42). The "cup" Jesus prayed to be removed was the cup of suffering and death. Make no mistake about it: Jesus knew what He was here to do. He came to earth to give His life on the cross as a payment for my sin and for yours.
In the ultimate act of selflessness, he prayed: "It's not about me, it's about you." Why don't you make this your prayer today: "God, it's not about me, it's about you. Not my will, but yours be done." It might just alleviate your frustration. It will probably end the fighting in your life. And doing His will always leads to victory.
The cross and the empty tomb are proof.