High Stakes or Low Stakes

Originally published Friday, 26 October 2018.

As a parent, I remember when I first heard the phrase "high stakes testing." It was presented in a pressure-filled manner so that parents would approach state tests seriously. However, because I always took education seriously and knew how my children were doing in school, I approached these tests as low stakes tests - just another test that they would master. I felt that the pressure would be a hindrance, so flipped it on his head and treated the tests as normal, because children are primed to take tests as a way to indicate learning.

We are primed to deal with problems, Jesus told us it would be so. He said, "in this world, we will have tribulations but to be of good cheer for I have overcome the world (John 16:33)." He was letting us know that we should expect problems - no matter their shape, hue or size.

When it's your life, your problems provide a barometer for the intended outcome. It all seems like high stakes, but when we listen to Jesus, He says there are low stakes. High stakes indicate a significant gain is realized; with low stakes, the opposite is true.  Our problems don't phase Him though they may change us. But he didn't leave us to handle our issues by ourselves. He left Himself, the Comforter, and just before he left, after telling us about the inevitability of our problems, he prayed for us (John 17).

The writer of this spoken word poem is in a season of his life that gives Jesus's words new meaning. As he pondered his current situation he shared these words with me:

High Stakes Low Stakes

Some people learn when the stakes are high; some people don't

Pressure doesn't always make diamonds or make the screw fit tighter,

There are those for whom pressure crushes their hopes and strips the thread that was supposed to hold them together,

Low stakes learning then is their friend.

Failing is an option and the very means to an end.

Mistakes will require a reroute to the intended destination, like a GPS

If you really want to get there, you'll follow the instructions more carefully each time you reroute. 

But you'll keep driving, you'll be faithful, with or without the pressure

Whether for the first time or not, the pressure is on

So seek God, plan, execute, even with mistakes, yours or others,

Then press on while firmly on the victorious road.

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord, your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

High stakes or low stakes, be faithful. With Him, we are acing the test.