During worship service one Sunday, I had an image in my mind of a football stadium, the game in full swing. I was dressed in uniform, but sitting on the bench. I felt frustrated there, wanting to jump in full throttle and help my teammates win the game. I heard God say, “Learn to be content on the bench.” At the time, I was homeschooling two small children. Not exactly what I wanted to hear in this season of my life, but I recognized the wisdom. There are a lot of things you learn while on the bench. You learn the rules, memorize the plays, watch others fail and become victorious. You also learn to distinguish the Coach’s voice above all the others that are crying out to you. In Philippians 4:11, Paul says that contentment has to be learned. The learning process deals with fretfulness inside us, eventually bringing us into His rest.
What is your bench? It can be an entry level job where you are bored to tears, or being mommy to a quiver full of children simply longing to hear an adult voice. One dear friend’s bench is her bed, after a traumatic accident left her leg in shambles. I imagine we frequent that bench more than once in our lives. I think I’ve learned to embrace it as a gift. I guess the big test will be when I find myself there again. :-)