Wednesday, December 28, 2016

On Gubs and Pride

Last night, Timmy, Joe, and I were playing a tournament of one of our favorite new games: Gubs. It's a game about as crazy as its name suggests . . . the whole point is to collect and protect as many of the little Gub cards as possible, while your teammates do anything in their power to lure, trap, or kill them out of your hand. And if they don't get them, perhaps a deadly event card will. Not many Gubs survive this franticly fast-paced card game war. It's awesome!! ;)

Of course, when you've played about 20 games of it since Christmas, you start looking for ways to make it a little more interesting . . . say, perhaps, a tournament of gubs with the first person to three wins crowned the champion. But bragging rights wasn't quite enough for us Bowes Bros last night. We all received these high-powered nerf guns for Christmas, and we decided to incorporate them. These guns are not the ones that shoot the little foam darts, btw, but hard foam balls. The box says they are recommended for age 14+, and we have been using safety goggles whenever we play.

To up the ante, we decided that the winner of our Gubs tournament would get to unload a full clip into the back of the loser. The second placer would shoot half his clip at the loser, than would go join his buddy on death row to receive the second half of his clip from the winner. Oh, and why not do it shirtless, just to make things even more interesting?

With this extra incentive not to lose, the Gub games were even more intense. We strategized and schemed, knocking out each others' Gubs left and right. Problem is, no matter how much you strategize, a lot of the game is about drawing the right cards . . . and avoiding the bad ones. One bad draw can pretty much devastate your chances at winning. It is indeed "a game of wit and luck", as the box says--heavy on the luck side.

Much to my consternation, I lost the first three games. A trip to death row was quite imminent. But then, amazingly, I won the last three games and snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat. As I did a victory dance and tried to high five my little bros, who had collapsed on the floor with groans of consternation and defeat (No, I am not gloating! . . . Okay, it was fun to win though) ;), I began to think what a brilliant strategist I was . . . A very skilled Gub protector, if I do say so myself. But then, of course, the inescapable fact that the game is mostly luck hit me, and I felt silly for these grand thoughts of how I had saved myself.

The next thought I had was how in much the same way, we take pride in what we have accomplished in our lives. Even if we don't say it verbally, we often act like we are masters of our destinies, self-made men and women.  But how much do we actually control? We didn't choose the cards we would be dealt: The family we would be born to, the talents God would give us, our health, or even the opportunities that come along in our lives. We can't create water to drink, food to eat, or air to breathe. We are dependent on God's creations for the raw materials we turn into our shelters, vehicles, and tools. On a heart level, we are desperately depraved and need God's grace and mercy to intervene in our lives to turn us from an eternity in hell and to an abundant life in Him.

We can't take the credit for who we are. God can! It is so, so foolish of us to claim otherwise.

No wonder, then, that pride is such a big deal to God. It's a nasty sickness of the heart revealed by the words we say and how we carry ourselves. I know for sure it is something I struggle with. I want to fight it, though, and give God all the glory. He truly does oppose the proud, but He gives grace to fight it if we would but humble ourselves to our Creator. May we truly think of ourselves less, and more of HIM!

7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
 [Jas 4:7-10 NASB]