When the Dice Are in the Air

I’ve never played craps and don’t really like gambling, but if I was going to gamble I suppose craps would be my game. Slots are too easy for the house to skew in their favor, and cards are just too complicated. With craps it’s just you, the dice, and the hand of God. Not that I think God is really into helping people out with their gambling, so don’t go thinking I’m advocating this as a method of finding God’s blessing. I really just want to use craps as an analogy for life.

Here’s how craps works. You hold the dice in your hand. As long as you hold onto them, you aren’t really in the game. You can’t win or lose. As soon as you let go of the dice, the outcome is completely out of your control and all you can do is hope for a 7 or 11, or at least to not get a 2, 3, or 12. For a split second the outcome is unknown – the dice are in the air and you’re just waiting. Once the dice land, you either win, lose, or get to keep playing.

Sometimes life is like a game of craps. If you try to stay in control of everything you aren’t really in the game. If you don’t take risks, you miss out on potential blessings. Sometimes you have to let go of the dice. Other times you don’t have any choice because they are forced from your hand. But at any rate, you are bound to face periods of uncertainty in life when the outcome of something – a job interview, or medical tests, or a romantic relationship – is uncertain.

The uncertainty may, as in craps, last only a moment. But often we find ourselves staring at the dice as they just hang in the air for what seems like forever. Why don’t they land already so we will know what’s going to happen? We impatiently await the job offer, or test results, or the opportunity to meet someone we can love. We don’t like to wait.

But wait we must. The only thing we can control is how we wait. We can let the waiting make us miserable, or we can trust that God is in control.

My church has been going through just such a waiting period as we seek a permanent lead pastor. Each member of the congregation is handling it in their own way; some are waiting more patiently than others. We know God is in control and will bring the right lead pastor for us if we trust in Him, but the waiting is still hard.

But there is one person who is an amazing example of trusting in God because the uncertainty of this situation in multiplied for him. That is our interim pastor. The rest of us really want to know who our lead pastor will be and when he will be here so we can move forward as a congregation, but church still goes on week after week while we wait. For our interim pastor, the calling of a permanent lead pastor will be the end of his call with us, and right now he has no idea when that will be. Where he will serve the Lord when his service with us is completed is also uncertain. The possibilities are many, but the outcome is uncertain.

And yet he has been a wonderful encouragement and witness to the rest of us of how to trust in God for the outcome. He is at peace with the situation, knowing that when the dice fall they will fall as God wills. He knows that while the dice are in the air, they are really in the hand of God. He sees and points us to the ways in which God has already been in control of the process in a very real way, right down to opening up a Sunday for our current pastoral candidate to preach for us and to meet the congregation.

So what uncertainty do you have in your life right now? Have you just thrown the dice or have they been hanging in the air for what seems like an eternity? Take heart, God is in control. When the time is right, He will cause the dice to fall as they should. Trust in Him for His perfect timing in all things. When you trust in Him, you will know peace instead of misery, even in the most challenging rolls of life’s game of craps.

You will keep in perfect peace
   him whose mind is steadfast,
   because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
   for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV).

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12 Comments

Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, postaday2011

12 responses to “When the Dice Are in the Air

  1. What a wonderful analogy!
    I know nothing at all about gambling, but I see the analogy and it certainly speaks volumes. Someone once said it is impossible to write a parable on the lines of the ones Jesus told, but this would be the closest.

    The big difference between throwing a dice and trusting God to work things out is the nature of God. He only desires the very best for us and He is not only willing but able to work all things to accomplish His purpose in our lives.

    What an amazing God!

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    • Angela, What a wonderful observation, that the difference is the nature of God! He does want only the best for us. I think that’s sometimes why He holds the dice a little longer than we would like, waiting for the circumstances to be right. 🙂 What an amazing God, indeed! Peace, Linda

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  2. I loved how He gave you this analogy! 🙂 It has me thinking about all stages of the game. The not being in the game part, the waiting part, and then the accepting the outcome part. It is all much more of an adventure and blessing when we know Jesus and can trust Him in it all. Thank you, Linda! And God bless you and your congregation as a new pastor begins his time with you!

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    • Deb, Thank you. Our interim pastor was awesome when he did the sermon yesterday after the announcement had been made that the pastor we had called had accepted. He really encouraged us to trust God and to embrace our new pastor, not to compare him to other pastors we’ve had, and to know that as interim pastor he has been so blessed to be with us for the past year. We’ve been blessed by his presence, too! God has used him where he is and I have no doubt God has a wonderful plan for him and his family. Peace, Linda

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  4. Ann

    Thank you, Linda

    “So what uncertainty do you have in your life right now? Have you just thrown the dice or have they been hanging in the air for what seems like an eternity? ”
    Eternity … and then some 🙂 … The whole ‘frozen in time’ concept

    “Take heart, God is in control. When the time is right, He will cause the dice to fall as they should. Trust in Him for His perfect timing in all things. ”
    I have been finding loads of encouragement in blogs today. Thank you for adding to the pile! 🙂

    The perfection of His timing is my life’s anthem but sometimes, just sometimes the flesh in me cries out for deliverance and then He sends me grace and more grace. His grace is sufficient … I choose to believe that.

    Blessings much,
    ann

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    • Ann

      Linda,

      I went to church today thinking about this post and the life applications. It was a real treat to me that God met me at the point of my need right in the worship service! The message was on-point and the worship team did all the songs I felt I needed to hear including Blessed Be Your Name, Healer and Shout To The Lord. By the time they got to Shout To The Lord, I was singing, jumping and dancing like there’s no tomorrow! You see, I have been holding on to His promises even though everything around me says “what’s the use?”. Today He reminded me that “nothing compares to the promise I have in (Him)”! And that’s HUGE!

      I would be happy if He took the thorn but I am ever so grateful that He gives His grace to help me over the rough patches. Our God is awesome!!

      Blessings and thanks again for sharing. I’m not a gambling person either. I like to see the plan laid before me but sometimes His will requires tossing the dice and trusting Him to give us the play we need – even if it’s not the play we want!!!!! May His name be glorified!

      Resting in Him,
      ann

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      • Ann, This is the hard part: “sometimes His will requires tossing the dice and trusting Him to give us the play we need – even if it’s not the play we want!!!!!” It sounds like you had a wonderful worship time this morning. We sang Open the Eyes of My Heart, one of my favorites. Plus we got the news that the pastor we called has accepted the call. Now we just need to go through the formality of a congregational vote. 🙂 Peace, Linda

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  5. “We can let the waiting make us miserable, or we can trust that God is in control.”

    What an awesome example your interim pastor is of the ultimate faithful craps player! Sometimes those long periods of waiting build the strongest faith…

    During my only trip to Vegas, I couldn’t bear to throw the dice, and instead bought a very nice lipstick at Neiman Marcus. No regrets…

    Great analogy in today’s post! Thanks… : )

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    • Linda, I’ve only been to Vegas twice. The first time I was 4-months pregnant and every time my husband put a quarter in a slot machine I’d say, “There goes another quarter!” I hated it. The second time was for a work conference. I did my presentation, then sat at the pool afterwards until it was time for my flight. Not my favorite town. But I’m glad you liked the analogy. I often think in analogies, and it’s nice when it works out to make sense. 🙂 Peace, Linda

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  6. I love this line : The only thing we can control is how we wait.
    Yes His perfect peace is in the wait
    Prayers for your day
    Susie

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    • Susie, Thanks, I like that line, too. This whole post came to me as I was praying for our interim pastor the other morning. He is such a wonderful example of someone with His perfect peace. 🙂 Peace, Linda

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