“Fifteen, two – Fifteen, four – Fifteen, six – Fifteen, eight, and a pair of double runs makes 24,” I heard her say.
“A pair for two,” I replied.
“That’s game! I win!” her perky voice rebutted…“you are only at 59…does that mean I skunked you?”
“Not exactly,” I said, “It means that you double skunked me.”
“Oooh, that sounds exciting…what does that mean?”
“It means that you get credit for 3 wins in the series.”
“Fun!...What do you want for supper?”
“I lost my appetite.”
“Oh, ok then…do you want to play again?”
I wanted to say, “What are you kidding me? Never!...I am never playing with you again!,” while throwing the cards and the board across the room. But instead I sighed and just said…“ugh.”
Sadly this was not our only conflict while sitting across a cribbage board, and for that reason…Sarah and I rarely play cribbage with each other any longer. It seems that after each game played…we once again renew our commitment to never play again…at least with each others.
It can be difficult to withhold emotions and frustration in competitive board games. The cards that we are dealt, the numbers rolled on the dice, or the chutes and ladder spinner can seem to be stacked against us, as if somehow cosmic events have forbidden our success…or God is somehow trying to teach us lessons in patience, anger, suffering and pride all at the same time.
It can seem that game after game our odds should change…that at some point the grass would no longer be greener on the other side of the fence…and suddenly we would be standing in the abundance of fertile soil. But…life is hard, and it seems to keep getting harder. Covid certainly is a card that we would rather not have received in our hand…it feels like getting stuck with the Old Maid card.
In Acts 21:1-36, we find the Apostle Paul heading back to Jerusalem. He has been dealt with a hand of cards that any of us would shudder to receive. Yet, he knows the cards that he has been given…and he know that the task of playing those cards has been given to him. His hand is full of pain and suffering. His cards were not dissimilar to the cards that Jesus suffered.
We don’t get to choose our cards. Many of us have been…or will be faced with some incredibly difficult cards to play…cards of hurt, pain, cancer, sorrow, persecution, etc. God has given us the privilege to be entrusted with these cards. May we learn to resiliently play them…for His glory.