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SO YOU PRAYED TO WIN?

My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time. 

During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper,

 a block of wood and four tires and told to return home

and give it all to "dad."  That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do.  Dad
was not receptive to doing things with his son.  But Gilbert tried.
Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby
car with his young, eager son.  The block of wood remained untouched
as the weeks passed.

Finally, mom stepped in to see if I could figure this all out.  The
project began.  Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be best
if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work.

And he did.  I read aloud the measurements, the rules of what we could
do and what we couldn't do.  Within days his block of wood was turning
into a pinewood derby car.  A little lopsided, but looking great (at
least through the eyes of mom).  Gilbert had not seen any of the other
kids cars and was feeling pretty proud of his "Blue Lightning," the
pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own.

Then the big night came.  With his blue pinewood derby in his hand and
pride in his heart we headed to the big race.  Once there my little
one's pride turned to humility.  Gilbert's car was obviously the only
car made entirely on his own.  All the other cars were a father-son
partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for
speed.  A few of the boys giggled as they looked at Gilbert's,
lopsided, wobbly, unattractive vehicle.  To add to the humility
Gilbert was the only boy without a man at his side.  A couple of the
boys who were from single parent homes at least had an uncle or
grandfather by their side, Gilbert had "mom."

As the race began it was done in elimination fashion.  You kept racing
as long as you were the winner.  One by one the cars raced down the
finely sanded ramp.  Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest,
fastest looking car there.  As the last race was about to begin, my
wide-eyed, shy eight year old ask if they could stop the race for a
minute, because he wanted to pray.

The race stopped.  Gilbert hit his knees clutching his funny looking
block of wood between his hands.  With a wrinkled brow he set to
converse with his Father.  He prayed in earnest for a very long minute
and a half.  Then he stood, smile on his face and announced, "Okay, I
am ready."

As the crowd cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as their
car sped down the ramp.  Gilbert stood with his Father within his
heart and watched his block of wood wobble down the ramp with
surprisingly great speed and rushed over the finish line a fraction of
a second before Tommy's car.

Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud "Thank you" as the crowd
roared in approval.  The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with
microphone in hand and asked the obvious question, "So you prayed to
win, huh, Gilbert?"

Gilbert, looking the Scout Master square in the eye, replied, "Oh, no
sir.  That wouldn't be fair to ask God to help you beat someone else.
I just asked Him to make it so I don't cry when I lose."

Children seem to have a wisdom far beyond us.  Gilbert didn't ask God
to win the race, he didn't ask God to fix the outcome.  Gilbert asked
God to give him strength in the outcome.  His simple prayer spoke
volumes to those present that night.  He never doubted that God would
indeed answer his request.  He didn't pray to win, thus hurting
someone else.  He prayed that God supply the grace to lose with
dignity.  Gilbert, by his stopping the race to speak to his Father
also showed the crowd that he wasn't there without a "dad," but his
Father was most definitely there with him.
 

iglesia@su-iglesia.com

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