from the Karate Kid
my boys were young they loved the movie "The
Karate Kid". It was the story of Daniel,
a teenaged boy determined to learn the art of
karate in order to prove himself to the new
and threatening crowd at school. The boy finds
himself a Master teacher, or rather the Master
finds him, and together they enter into an agreement
to prepare for a karate competition. The Master
promises to teach Daniel on the condition that
he does whatever is asked of him - with no questions
my boys loved the movie for its action scenes
and ultimate victory for the underdog, it contains
profound lessons for any of us who desire to
pursue a God-given dream.
the movie, Daniel arrives at the Master's house
early in the morning to begin his karate training.
To his surprise, the Master tells him to wash
and wax every vehicle in the back yard - no
less than eight from what Daniel could see.
Confused but committed to following the Master's
instructions, the boy starts working. Before
long the Master intervenes and insists that
Daniel "wax on" and "wax off"
using very defined movements. Once the Master
is satisfied that Daniel is using the proper
technique, he leaves him to his work, which
continues late into the night. The Master then
dismisses the boy with no explanation, no apology
and no assurance that tomorrow will better meet
the boy's expectations.
the next two days Daniel returns to the Master's
house expecting his karate training to begin,
but each morning he is delegated another tedious
and confusing chore. Each morning the Master
ensures that Daniel is using the proper techniques
for his tasks, then leaves him to his work and
is not seen again until he dismisses Daniel
late each night.
the boy can't take any more and confronts his
Master with charges of indifference. In the
emotion that ensues, a physical challenge begins
between the two and the boy discovers that the
techniques he has learned over the last three
days are actually karate movements.
epiphany comes when the boy realizes that his
Master knew what he was doing all along. "Wax
on" and "wax off" held secrets
to Daniel's success that he did not see while
he was engaged in seemingly meaningless tasks.
many of us, on our spiritual journey, experience
similar frustrations as the Karate Kid? We may
have a general understanding of where God is
leading us in life. Many of us also think we
know the shortest, most direct path to that
destination. Yet the reality of our lives may
seem to have little connection to that destination.
knows far better than we the plans He has for
us, and the condition of our hearts. He is committed
to reconciling those two things in our lives.
At times, His ways are beyond our comprehension,
and our intellects have trouble accepting by
faith that which we cannot reason through logic.
Karate Kid could not see the purpose in what
his Master was asking him to do and I have to
admit that as an onlooker I never saw the connection
at first either. What could "wax on"
and "wax off" have to do with preparing
for a karate competition? But the Master did
promise to teach the boy, and the boy did agree
to do whatever was asked of him. He trusted
his Master and because of that, he reached his
Chambers teaches that obedience to God is the
most important characteristic we can bring to
a loving relationship with God, because obedience
will lead to understanding. Too often, we insist
on understanding before we are willing to follow
means choosing to obey God despite our lack
of understanding. If God were to show us how
He would prepare our hearts for His purposes,
most of us would not accept the training.
know I would not have. If God had told me that
He was going to give me a physically disabled
son to temper my fiercely independent nature,
I would have questioned His sanity. If He told
me that He was going to remove me from serving
others until I realized how much my boys and
I needed each other, I would have been as bewildered
as Martha when Jesus told her that her sister
Mary had made a better choice.
God had shown me all the things I was clinging
to for security and self-esteem that I would
need to surrender, I know I would have turned
and walked away.
thankful that God didn't give me what I wanted
- He gave me what I needed. I am better person
for it, and the people around me have also benefited.
That lesson gives me confidence for the future.
I have learned to look for the purpose in everything
God brings my way. Sometimes I find it, sometimes
I don't. My trusting obedience, not my intellectual
understanding, is what forms the character of
Christ in me.
underestimate the purpose of the work and responsibilities
God has given you today. It might be difficult
to understand the connection between raising
a family and the dreams in your heart for the
future, but God knows. It might be hard to understand
the connection between living a monotonous life
and a transformed character, but God knows.
It might be hard to understand the connection
between years of unrecognized service and someday
hearing the words "Well done my good and
faithful servant", but God knows.
the Master. Your obedience will bring understanding.
"Wax on" and "wax off".
McBride is a freelance writer from
Calgary, Alberta. Donna has 3 grown sons and
a background in business, counseling and teaching.
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