“Daniel Staddon! You may step forward and recite Psalm 145.” Amidst roaring applause and flashing lights, the moderator’s voice boomed out over the loudspeakers of the spectacular Ball Room at the J. W. Marriott, where the final three contestants in the Senior group of the 2009 National Bible Bee were embroiled in a grueling tie-breaker for the first place prize of $100,000. There I stood. I cannot explain the excitement, intensity, and suspense that rushed over me as the reality of the situation broke upon me. My mind was still a little confused over the rushed events of the past few days, making all the weeks and months I had spent preparing seem like a dream. A dream waiting for this very moment.
This was when it was so helpful to remember where the Lord had led me to place my focus months earlier! When I began preparing, I had carefully calculated exactly how much memorization and study needed to be done every day in order to master all the content and be 100% ready for the Local and National Contests. But alas! I found myself constantly getting farther behind schedule. If I wanted to be totally prepared, I was going to have to begin sacrificing time with the Lord and the rest of the family. They wouldn’t mind if I skipped a few family nights, would they? Jonathan and David can do a few things without me for a while. My morning prayer time isn’t that important, is it? But then the Lord stopped me short, “Daniel, which is higher priority – people or the prize?” After thinking long and hard over this, I replied, “Lord, I’m not going to be able to prepare like I had planned. But I purpose to put my relationships with You and others above winning. I’m going to do my best, but if you want me to win, it’s really going to have to be a miracle of your doing.”
From then on, it was up to Him!
And it was an exciting ride. 🙂