A calculated game...


I absolutely DEVOUR books. I am constantly crowd-sourcing new reads and adding them to my NookColor or stuffing hard copies in my book bag.

I love to read! Read, read, read, I say.

So when the Hunger Games trilogy was suggested as a good read, I naturally assumed it would be and grab the entire trilogy. If I’m reading the first book, psychologically, whether I like them or not, I’m committed to the series.

I’m weird like that.

So in book club the other day, there was a question about how I understood God’s grace.

I’m not sure if it was because I woke myself up at 1 a.m. the morning of book club remembering I hadn’t done my “homework” (shhh!) or if God has chosen that moment to rain down some cold hard facts.

Whatever it was, I blew my own mind. OK, admittedly not hard but stick with me here.

Once the Games start, there is this giant cornucopia in the center of the Arena. Inside this crazy, futuristic contraption is everything you need to survive the games: food, water, medicines, and weapons.

It’s getting there that’s the tricky part.

This big, beautiful cornucopia is full of everything that is right with the world. And it isn’t out of reach. It’s not miles away; it’s right there in front of us. We can see it, touch it, experience it. We just have to get there.

The reality is that there is a battle for our soul. God is seeking us, calling us, wanting us to live our lives as best we can in a world where we make the call. That whole free-will thing — a complicated topic that deserves the attention of someone who is more focused than I as I sit here in my jammies, covered in who knows what from whatever my boys attacked me with today.

I digress…

Satan doesn’t want us to have it, right? I mean seriously, if you just sit down and think of the things in your day that rob you of joy and peace, it gets a little scary. There is a battle going on. A game, if you will. And he will cheat to get what he wants…and what he wants is you. He would rather have us focus on ourselves, get derailed in our goals, and turn us from the things that bring us joy. Not only would he rather have us choose this, he is giddy when we do. Because though it may make life blissfully happy in the now, it will never last.

It’s like I tell my kids every day before school…make wise choices. I’m just trying to teach them the basics but as they grow older they need to know poor choices will creep up on you and slowly start to unravel your soul.

I’ve been there, done that. And I am beyond thankful for God’s grace that knits me back together each morning.

So like our hero, Katniss, who by the by was not thrust into this story to be the hero, I race to the cornucopia. I try every day to risk it all to take all that God has to offer. Much like Kantiss, I not only want to survive the journey, I want to be an example of how to live. She didn’t just want to survive, she wasn’t in it just for herself or she wouldn’t have stopped to help Rue or Peeta (even after the later had tried to kill her).

I don’t know about you, but most days I bumble along and count myself gleefully successful at making it a whopping three steps in the right direction. Other days, I crumble in the fetal position and throw a good old-fashioned temper tantrum having never made it off the platform because it was just too hard to take that first step.

The journey is necessary. It makes us stronger.

It is God’s story in our life and because of his gift to me, I’m obligated to seek him earnestly – not because I have to, but because I want to.

So, “happy Hunger Games! May the odds be ever in your favor.”1

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. – Philippians 3.14 (The Message)

1The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins ©2008. Scholastic Press. All Rights Reserved.

Photo credit: Jen Gusey

Cindy lives in Michigan and is mom to two amazing boys and has been married 16 years to her husband, Bob. When she isn’t working as the Communications Director for Ada Bible Church, she is a blogger, social media junkie, an adoption advocate, school volunteer, and photographer.

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