Remembrance Day is commemorated each year on this day, the 11 November - the day of the armistice in WWI in the year 1918 – an event where over 60,000 young Australians out of a population of only 5.3 million people, lost their lives in that horrific encounter.
With the recent passing of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and his sacking in 1975 by the then Governor General Sir John Kerr on that same calender day the 11 of the 11th has bought much solemnity to this national day of remembering.
It was therefore very fitting to have this pastoral letter from Nelson Cook on this very same day on the subject of adversity.
Nelson Cook who established Coaches of Influence (COIN) 28 years ago in Los Angeles USA writes a monthly letter to the many coaches at professional, college and high school levels and the current correspondence touches the spot.
It has been my privilege since 1984 to have been hosted innumerable times by Nelson Cook in my years in sport ministry, the most recent was in 2009 where I addressed coaches over breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
This is another of those Christian ministry movements where one person has a vision for a ministry area that had been untapped and gathered support to engender the dream and saw how God unleashed his 'touch' upon the evangelism.
There is a growing number of these 'niche' ministries that highly specialise into a people group and coaches are a vital people group in the American culture who both influence the life of high schools, colleges and professional teams, but have a huge input into the lives of their charges.
To this extent Nelson Cook's vision grew its feet and with the Lord's blessing that this ministry is now a light on the landscape and this is Nelson Cook's latest letter to his coaching personnel:
Why does James start his book with "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." James 1 verses 2-3
Here's a great illustration of this truth!
In the northeastern United States codfish are a big commercial business. Note the following facts: There is market for eastern cod all over, especially in sections farthest removed from the northeast coastline.
But the public demand posed a problem to the shippers. At first they froze the cod, then shipped them elsewhere, but the freeze took away much of the flavor.
So they experimented with shipping them alive, in tanks of seawater, but that proved even worse. Not only was it more expensive, the cod still lost its flavor and, in addition, became soft and mushy. The texture was seriously affected.
A creative person solved the problem in a most innovative manner. The codfish were placed in the tank of water along with their natural enemy – the catfish. From the time the cod left the East Coast until it arrived at its westernmost destination, those ornery catfish chased the cod all over the tank.
And, you guessed it, when the cod arrived at the market; they were as fresh as when they were first caught. There was no loss of flavor nor was the texture affected. If anything, it was better than before.
Each one of us is in a tank of particular and inescapable circumstances. It is painful enough to stay in the tank.
But in addition to our situation, there are God-appointed "catfish" to bring sufficient tension that keeps us alive, alert, fresh and growing. It's all part of God's project to shape our character so we will be more like His Son.
Understand why the catfish are in your tank. Understand they are part of God's method of producing character in your life and mine – Charles Swindoll.
We will encounter times of adversity. The comfort and blessing of God's Word is found in verse 3 ... knowing what the adversity is going to be there for.
NOW, think about God's sovereignty, His absolute control, and His love and desire that we grow and mature. Can we not count it joy?
Onward and upward,
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html