The Eight Ball

I love playing pool.  I don’t get much chance to play it anymore, but I used to as a teen play all the time.  I never was much good, but I enjoyed the game.

You have to pot all the stripes or spots, depending on which you potted first, then finally pot the eight ball.

If you at any point in the game pot the eight ball before potting all your colour – you automatically lose the game.  Potting the eight ball at the right time wins the game, potting it at the wrong time loses the game.

Life can be like that.  Certain things done at the right time will win you the game, do them at the wrong time and you will lose the game!

Abraham slept with Hagar and produced a game-losing Ishmael.  Later, he slept with Sarah and produced the game-winning Isaac.  Timing was everything.  Moses tried to deliver the Israelites 10 years too early and won himself a 40 year exile into Egypt.

I tried to pastor a church about 3 years before I was ready and ended up with an exile into Suffolk.  I still call it the Ishmael church – it was blessed and I was blessed, but it was never a game winner and would never have been what the Tree of Life family is today.

What am I saying – don’t pot the black ball too early.  Often God reveals to us, or we simply work out what it takes for us to win our game – what God has called us to do, what our destiny is, what our life work is to be.  Then we are tempted to rush out and do it – even if it involves sleeping with the servant, killing an Egyptian, pastoring a church that was opposed to the power of the Spirit.  Whatever it is – impatience leads to compromise leads to losing the game!

Let faith and patience have their perfect way in you (Hebrews 6.12) and believe that if God has shown you something you will achieve it.  You will win this game – you are more than a conqueror.  But don’t rush ahead, wait for it for it will surely come, even though it tarry.

God is going to get you where you need to be.  But sometimes He wants us to take the scenic route because that route has lessons, sometimes He just wants us to enjoy the view.  There is often a long corridor between where we are and where God is taking us – learn to appreciate the corridor because that is where we develop the character to handle the promises that will no doubt manifest.

What do you do in the corridor?  What do you do while playing? You are learning to set up shots, learning to judge the speed and angle of the cue, you are becoming good at the game.

So that when it’s time to pot the 8-ball you are ready.

Never neglect that waiting time, that training time, that learning time.  That is time never wasted.  When you end up in your destiny, you will never regret a day of training and preparation and in fact will wish for more of them!

I wonder what David thought when he was writing Psalms and worshipping God and having the time of His life when a lion attacked his sheep.  I think he might be angry at God – why is the lion attacking MY sheep, when I am praising God.  Those other shepherds aren’t serving God like me, they aren’t praising like me, praying like me!  Why is this happening to me?

And David jumps in and fights the lion.  And wins.

Then not long after, a bear attacks.  There is David thinking “oh man, what have I done wrong?  What is this about? Why is God letting this happen to me?” but David fights the bear – and wins again!

Then one day, the whole nation is under attack by Goliath.  And David looks at Goliath and thinks “I can take him – I have fought the lion and bear”

Sometimes we don’t know why things happen, why preparation takes so long – it’s because there is a Goliath coming, and God is preparing you to slay him and set the captives free!

Start to rejoice in the corridor time, in the playing time, in the attacks by lions and bears out of nowhere time.  It’s preparation time, and the promises are coming true!

Published by Tree of Life Church

We are a growing network of growing churches, with services weekly in Dagenham, Guildford, Watford, Croydon, Brentwood and Dorset. We are also planting churches in Cambridge, Suffolk, West Midlands and Hemel. Find out more at, and

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