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Growing up, my dad was a “gamer.”  He had every game console imaginable, although it was before the headset and connect-to-the-internet era (could you imagine?!).  In addition to electronic games, he had an affinity for board games.  Hasbro could have been his middle name.  He didn’t own just a few…he easily hovered around a hundred.  Board games.  Card games.  Electronic games.  You name it – he had it!  It’s one of the most cherished memories I have of my late father (whose birthday happens to be today), and is a tradition I want to carry on with my kids.

So I was pleased that for Christmas this year my sister bought the kids the Pop-o-Matic Trouble Game.  You know, that game where it has a plastic dome enclosing the single die and the players compete to get their pegs all the way around the board to their finish area? 

In case it’s been a minute since you played, let me remind you that there are advantage and disadvantage areas on the board.  If you roll a 6, you get to “pop” the “pop-o-matic” again for another turn.  If you land on one of the four “double trouble” places, you get to roll again.  But, because I’m notorious for not following instructions (or recipes – another post for another day!), somehow the rules evolved into many additional opportunities to roll.  It actually speeds up the game nicely, and with two toddlers who quickly grow weary, I recommend you adopt these rules, too!

Rules say youngest player goes first, and as much as Abby contested, I didn’t budge on that one. 

Only two rounds in and Jacob kept rolling a six or landing on a “double trouble” pop after pop, whizzing him around the board, sending Abby into hysterics because “Jacob is going to win and that’s not fair!”  If she only knew what “not fair” felt like! Off she went, up the stairs, and to her bedroom. 

Pop-o-Matic quickly turned into DRA-MA-TIC.  Lord, please help me!

A quick convincing and pep talk later, she was back in business. 

“Abby,” I said.  “You have to be patient and not give up when things don’t go your way.  You never know when you’ll start popping just the right numbers, too.  It only takes one roll to completely change the outcome.”

No joke, her very next turn she rolled a six, landing her on a “double trouble” and mom’s rules say you go again for the six, and two more times for “double trouble.”  Her third (and should have been final) roll, queue another six.  What do Mom’s rules say?  Yup! “Go again.” 

In just a blink of an eye, what started off as such an unpromising performance, ended with her sending all her pieces to her finish zone first.

“But if we hope for what we do not have yet, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25, NIV) because “you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42, NIV).

With bright beaming eyes, she gave me a high-five and said, “Thank you, God!” 

At only 6, she’s learning the lessons right along with me, and it strengthens my heart!

What about you?  What evidence of God did you see or hear today?