I sat riveted to the screen as my alma mater completed a stunning comeback in a big football game. Just after scoring in the waning seconds, a player knelt and offered a prayer. No grandstanding; no look-at-me celebratory theatrics. Just a quick, humble prayer of gratitude to God before his overjoyed teammates swarmed him.

I knew there were dedicated Christians on the other team. Surely they had prayed to do their best that day. So does God take sides in football?

Let’s expand that question. Dare we ask: What about wars? Whose side is God on? It’s a dicey topic, but it’s also the wrong question. Look at Joshua. You’d think that God would be on his side. The Lord had told him, “Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you” (Joshua 1:3).

Yet as the people of Israel stood poised to take the land, Joshua met a man with a sword in his hand. Joshua’s warrior reflexes took over, and he challenged him, “Are you friend or foe?” (Joshua 5:13).

“Neither one,” the man replied. “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.” Immediately, Joshua fell to the ground and asked the right question: “What do you want your servant to do?” (Joshua 5:14).

As we acknowledge God’s sovereignty and His authority to do what He knows is best, we can find peace in His perfect will. And as we pray for participants in athletic events or for the outcomes of wars, we know He hears us. We also know that He’s pleased and glorified as we grow in our trust in and relationship with Him.

The example of Joshua the military commander shows us that the real question isn’t “Is God on our side?” Rather, it’s “What do you want us to do?” Our victories and setbacks are fleeting. God’s plans are eternal.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Timothy 3:1-17