Stories

There is no comparison to our God

Date posted: 05/03/18

 

 

As you read Isaiah 40 you cannot help but be drawn in by the incomparable character and power of God. There is simply nothing in the whole world that could possibly compete with the Lord. This isn’t a God who needs anyone, let alone me. Yet the promise in verse 31 tells me that He is a God who works for me. So what in the world does that mean for me, a 23-year-old, undersized prop forward in my local rugby club?

Reading this passage a few hours before kick-off on a Saturday it comforts me, encourages me to be bold in sharing my faith and challenges the way I play.

When Isaiah proclaimed the Lord’s message to the people of Israel he was speaking to a nation broken by sin. He brings good news, a promise of a King to restore their brokenness, to bring them back into relationship with their God.

 

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In my playing career on and off the pitch, I have got it wrong many times as a Christian. Whether that’s my attitude, the way I speak to the official/opposition/my own teammates, how I’ve acted in the clubhouse and even not speaking and acting on the opportunities I have been provided with. So often I don’t live a life worthy of the King.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40 v 1-2, NIV)

Comfort: The easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress.

As someone who overthinks and analyses every aspect of my life, these words spoken by the Lord through Isaiah do just that. They sink into my mind and give me peace for whatever today holds for me. In verse 2 I am reminded that my sin has been paid for through Christ, not double punishment, but double pardon for all those failures and missed opportunities. Not just freedom from them, but future blessings from the Lord Jesus. What compares to this? A God who repays my unfaithfulness with love and grace that I don’t deserve.

I have a God whose love is incomparable

You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” (v 9)

I googled how many times the phrase “do not be afraid” is used in the Bible in this context. It’s used 80 times. God seems pretty focused on ensuring that I am not afraid. Why should I be? The Creator of the universe is on my side! Yet there are those times where I am afraid - of what they may think, what they may say or how I may be excluded from the “banter” if I take a stand for Him.

Yet I am reminded of what I believe - that the message that I as a Christian am to proclaim is good news. Lifting up with a shout and declaring it boldly is something that I can only do through God’s strength and His Spirit.

The verses following this remind me of whose message it is that I proclaim to my rugby team, the Sovereign Lord, the Shepherd of the nations, the One who has measured the oceans in His hands and who has measured every grain of sand. There is none like Him, and none can instruct Him. Therefore, since I believe in this King of Kings, it means that He, in His infinite wisdom has placed me in my rugby team for a reason. I can trust that He will guide me and direct me, even when I feel afraid.

 

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I have a God whose message is incomparable

Tonight is a social night at our rugby club. Lots of mates, lots of fun and lots of opportunities to shine bright and proclaim this good news, but also a lot of temptations.

This is where verses 28-31 bring such comfort.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Strength made perfect in weakness. The weak made powerful through God’s Holy Spirit. Hope in a God who gave His Son for me. How could I not want to proclaim such a glorious message of hope?

I have a God whose power is incomparable

Finally, when I think about the match coming up in a few hours, I reflect on how verses 18-26 will affect the way I play my sport today.

With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him? (v 18)

So often I want to make rugby the ultimate thing in my life. I mean it is such a good thing. Great lads, playing a physical and challenging game, for 80 minutes, where respect of one another and the official is emphasised and where you need a full team to perform well. The beautiful game. Too often for me good things are made into god things. Where my happiness, self worth and identity are found solely in my performance and the result.

 

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Verses 19 reminds me that these are man-made things - they are broken by sin and are fallen. They cannot compare to God. They cannot satisfy the way He does. Verse 20 points to the fragility of making sport the be all and end all. Wood rots and by comparison, bodies break down, balls are dropped and life goes on outside the 80 minutes on this small pitch in Oxfordshire.

How then can I play to the absolute best of my ability, but in a way that shows all of my confidence, hope and joy aren’t dictated by the 80 minutes on a Saturday?

By lifting my eyes to the Heavens and remembering the Holy One whom has given me the ability to play sport and the great price He paid to bring me to Him.

Once I do that, rugby is in the right place. So is my head and my heart. I need this reminder every time I play my sport. There is no comparison to our God.

You can also watch the 'No comparison' video in French and German.

 

 


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Dave LawtherDave Lawther, Bicester Rugby Club
Dave plays rugby for Bicester RFC and is the Youth Worker at Headington Baptist Church, Oxford