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  • "A Musing Pastor"

How well do you take losing?

You won! OH WAIT! No you didn't

I read the news this morning about the mistake at the Miss Universe contest in Las Vegas. I wonder how a mistake could be made at such a critical juncture of an event like Miss Universe. All those involved will have a memory to carry with them for the rest of their days. Mr. Harvey will forever remember the feeling that gripped his gut when he realized his mistake. Miss Colombia will carry with her the mixture of elation and then a deflating pain. Miss Phillipines will live as though she was meant to win all along (which of course, she was). In the aftermath of a crushing defeat, a person's true character always appears. How well does a person deal with a huge error or a resounding defeat?

While I am not familiar with pageants like Miss USA and Miss Universe, my tendancy is to dismiss them. That may be an unfair assessment of the value of these contests. What will convince me otherwise is to hear reports over the next several days of the loser showing true grace and poise that is to be exhibited by all who participate in beauty contests. That character quality is not solely for pageant participants, but for all of humanity.

Sports fugures who make an amazing play, then line up to do it again are my true heroes. Those who dance and point toward themselves and act immature tend to rile me a bit. In the midst of a mistake at the Miss Universe pageant or during a sporting event, those who have lost will often be overcome with many emotions. The one emotion I would love to see in losers and the main response I strive to claim in my own life is humility. Some days my striving feels like swimming against Class 5 rapids...

At the end of a day and after we have had to deal with defeat, is when our realness appears.

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given

me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to

take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in

weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may

rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,

in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NIV)

It seems counterintuitive to "delight" when life goes sideways, but this beautiful reminder from 2 Corinthians allows it to be so. If I am a follower of Jesus Christ, I should expect, welcome, and live into hardships. When they come....and they will come, Jesus is our Rock and Fortress. He is our Strength and Shield.

The next time life throws a curveball that beans you and me in the head, shake it off. In the moment of weakness and as we seek Christ, we become stronger than we have ever been.

A humble birth in a humble stable to humble parents for a humble humanity is a humbling thought.

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