On an island

I was forced to have an interesting conversation with my wife.

Me: I have been called in to meet with the (high school) principal tomorrow.

Wife: Oh my gosh, is our son in trouble?

Me: No. It’s not him.

Wife: Our daughter???!!!

Me: Um, nope.

Wife: [Confused silence.]

Me: He asked to meet with me. I’m the one in trouble…

Let me give provide some background. I coach high school football and, in my first season at my current school, we were on the road and getting beaten soundly. Our opponent had the ball in our red zone and was about to score… again. I signaled in my defensive call and the middle linebacker looked back at me and indicated that he missed the call (imagine a shrug in shoulder pads). I repeated the signal. He shrugged again. The next time I added voice to my frustrated hand signals. I shouted “31 cover *&/#@ing 8”. It just so happened that the stadium fell strangely silent at exactly the same moment I yelled to my player. You should know that I have a commanding, loud coaching voice and that the principal was standing on the sideline about 30 yards from me.

So… during my Monday meeting with the principal he made an unforgettable statement. He said, “When you behave that way, you put yourself on an island. I cannot help you when you do that.” He was right. I apologized and took a careful inventory of my heart for football. (I’m still coaching at the same high school, by the way.)

I think there is a more significant truth here, in addition to what I learned in this particular circumstance. Too often, I think we consider obedience to God’s rules for our behavior to be restrictive. In fact, they are protective. God wants to protect His children from the evils of this world. However, sometimes He cannot protect us from ourselves. Our own disobedience leads us into circumstances that carry painful consequences.

I encourage you to view obedience to God as a gift, rather than a burden. We GET to obey God. We GET to remain safe. This obedience protects us from being marooned on a very lonely island.

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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