I’m blessed to be building a house. But what I thought would be a joyous process, has been one challenge after another. Delays with the draftsmen, the city, the bank. Frustration and misinformation at every turn.
The world of construction materials and contractors has felt like a game I’m destined to lose. With every item I need to select, the games begin. The pricing of materials like flooring and faucets is hidden. Vendors don’t share clear costs. Contractors decide how much I’m charged and when they’ll get the work completed (and then change their minds). It’s difficult to trust what I’m getting. Nothing is as it seems and I constantly feel like I’m playing a game I don’t know the rules to.
It reminds me of a scene from a movie. It’s fall in a large city park — kids are playing, old men are studying chess boards, and a small crowd is surrounding a cardboard box. There sits the con artist moving cups as fast as she can, swiping money from customers who think they know which cup the ball is under. It’s a shell game.
The shell game is all about keeping your eye on the ball, not being distracted by the fast-moving hands and the person moving the cups. But the game is already rigged and each of her customers loses the moment they put their money down thinking they had a chance. It’s a dishonest game and it tricks you from the beginning.
I feel like I’ve been trying to win a shell game with tile, sinks, and garage doors. I want the vendors to be transparent and the contractors to be honest. I want to be able to find a good deal on wood floors, paint, and windows but it seems like the ball keeps moving and I’m getting dizzy watching the cups.
After wading through granite remnants in a fabricator’s shop yard the other day, I was finally getting the clarity and information I needed to make a decision on countertops for our kitchen. On the way to my next stop, the Holy Spirit reminded me that God doesn’t play games like this with you and me.
God doesn’t have a trick up His sleeve. He keeps His promises and His blessings are real.
We might have a tendency to think that we’re missing something, that we have to play this game of life just right, or that it’s rigged for us to lose. You might think God is holding out on you or tricking you — that you actually can’t count on what He’s promised for your life. As if the blessings He has for you and me are part of a game that we’re not playing fast enough or just aren’t smart enough to receive the prize.
God is not playing a shell game with your life. You don’t have to think it’s a gamble to trust Him that the blessings will come. No guesswork needed. God doesn’t play games with how He moves in your life.
I can trust Him to build my house. You can trust Him with the big thing you’re dealing with. And the small things, too.
You and I might need a reminder that God can be trusted. He is trustworthy because:
- He is transparent. (Dan 2:22)
- He tells you His plan. (Eph 1:9)
- He has no other agenda than to love you. (Rom 8:35-39)
- He has good plans for you. (Jer 29:11)
- He doesn’t keep you guessing. (John 14:26)
- He keeps His promises. (Psalm 145:13)
- He desires good things for you. (Rom 8:28)
- He wants to be with you. (Rev 3:20)
- He is your friend. (John 15:15)
I know you can read that list and think to yourself, “Right, I know that.” But do you live like it? Or are you thinking you’ve got to win the shell game to have a blessed life? Maybe the shell game for you is to outsmart, move faster, be better, do more, make it work, hustle, live to the fullest, be strategic, make a bigger difference, get your life together, be one step ahead, serve God more to win the game that God isn’t even playing.
But God tells us in Psalm 84:11-12 (CSB) that “The Lord grants favor and honor; he does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. Happy is the person who trusts in you.” God doesn’t require you to be perfect. He sent Jesus to make you blameless; He cleansed you so you can happily trust Him and His ways and timing. God may not grant every answer to your prayers that you want or do things the way you see fit, but He will give the ultimate good thing in eternal life with Him — now and forever, with blessings and miracles along the way.
I’m thankful the Holy Spirit reminded me that we don’t have to play the game that’s being offered, whether it’s about building a house or whatever you face today. There is no game with God. No con. No gamble. All He wants is to love you and for you to trust Him day by day.
No good thing will God withhold from you. You can happily trust Him on that.