by Tom Oestreich
 I’ve been playing hockey since 1967. For most of those years I have played the “Left Wing” position; which is the forward player that plays the leftmost position just to the left of the center position.
In one game in 1988 however, I was asked to play the “Right Wing” position; and my game was thrown off. I hadn’t gotten into the habit of skating BOTH directions in warm up and I spent part of the time trying to wrap my mind around being on the opposite side of the net. Same ice, same net, same teammates, same clothing, same skates and jersey; and yet I felt as though something was way out of whack simply because I switched from left to right side.
In the past few years, I have had games where I have been asked to play defense on the left side, and, amazingly, it has been much easier to play this different role other than Left Wing; perhaps because I was on the left side of the net.
 When you are asked to switch roles does it throw you off? How do you handle changes that take you to a totally different place that you have ever been experientially? This can be true with any new situations we find ourselves in like a new house, job, baby, spouse, car, etc.  Do you rejoice for the new opportunity and all that is coming to you? Or move into ‘panic’ mode because your new environment seems so out of place as though a multitude were coming at you and your feel a loss of power or control.
Perhaps it feels strange because you are on the wrong side. It is during those times that we need to stop and not be overwhelmed by the task. It is during those times that we need to call out to God, “we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NKJV) In fact, take time to read 2 Chronicles 20. It is a great story of King Jehoshaphat who was overwhelmed by new changes in his kingdom and to whom the Lord spoke and said; “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” (v.17) King Jehoshaphat and his people followed the exhortation to “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established” (v.20). They went to the right side by singing and praising (v.22) and a tremendous victory was won by the Lord. It was a victory in which the king and his people spent “three days gathering the spoil because there was so much” (v. 25). And the story ends; “the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.” (v. 30) Although you may feel right now as though you are in a totally different place that you have ever been and you are on the wrong side: Stop. Call out. Let the Lord fight for you. And you too will get the victory as He slowly helps to you to understand that He is on your side.
Tom Oestreich has been active in several areas of ministry over the years and now invests his passion for restoration and reconciliation in his ministry at Teen Challenge, River of Hope Ministries, and writing on his blog where this article first appeared.

2 thoughts on “Switching to the Right Side

  1. Great analogy, Tom! What about when God really switches things up on us? Like when he moves us not just from left to right, but from hockey to baseball—or tennis…or polo? Sometimes it’s more than a change in role he asks of us. Sometimes, it’s a whole new game!

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