A Moment in Time

First the racquet fell away. Then the hat flew behind him as he ran. I can still remember it vividly, but all in slow motion. My son David turned and ran toward the gate, as fast as a 5-year old could run. Our cheerful game of tennis had turned into a sudden urgency as he darted from asphalt to grass, making a beeline for the large oak tree ahead. As he came up under those high branches he pressed his thumbs into the waist of his pants. His hips and knees danced in opposite directions as he freed himself. Suddenly his hands shot up into the air, arms straight and chest puffed out. This image must have looked to others like some white pygmy, worshiping the tree before him. And then not a move. Except for the stream that appeared in front of him, making the whole scene look a lot like a statue of a cherub, in the front court of a museum. Yes, he had made it! And now relief was his.

Why did I share this strange little story? Well, for one thing, because it’s a vivid memory of a morning spent with my son. We’ll never get that day back, but I’ll have that memory forever. It was an amusing moment, but also one that moistens my eyes when I think about how much that little guy has always meant to me. I also share this memory to remind you that this is very similar to how God feels about you. You’ve also done some things to make him chuckle, and he’ll never forget about those special times you’ve shared together. He’s watched you grow and mature, and he cherishes each moment with you. Is it possible to find time today to spend a few precious moments with your Heavenly Father? I think it would mean a lot for both of you.

Come close to God and He will come close to you.
- James 4:8 (AMP)

Keep Swinging!

Know what a bullpen is? It’s the part of the baseball stadium where all the pitchers warm up, waiting for their turn in the game. But beyond that physical location, the bullpen also refers to the roster of relief pitchers, each patiently waiting for a turn in the spotlight. As sports fans know, it usually goes something like this: The starting pitcher goes as long as possible in the game, trying to strike out as many opposing batters as possible. But should things take a bad turn, that starter is replaced by a fresh pitcher from the bullpen. And the idea is to have a full roster of waiting pitchers, each brought in for a strategic purpose. In fact, certain batters are paired with certain pitchers, to ensure a strikeout.

I said all that to say this: Do you lately feel like you’ve been standing at the plate, facing pitcher after pitcher, and mostly striking out? No home runs or getting on base, but just swinging in the wind? Just as in baseball, we have someone in this life who continues to throw things at us, time and time again. And when one pitcher is tired, another takes his place, keeping up the pressure on us. But the good news here is that God doesn’t let us strike out! In a baseball game it only takes three strikes to sit you down, but in life God doesn’t stop there! In fact, he’s like a patient coach who also owns the baseball stadium. In effect, he says, “Nope, he’s not through yet. I’m going to make sure we get a home run here. Son, you just keep swinging until you get a hit. I’ve got your back.” Did you get that? God says, “Keep swinging until you get a hit.” With help like that, how can we lose? Let’s wrap it up with this: Whose score are you keeping up with today - the bullpen’s score or God’s score?

If God is for us, who can be against us? We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
- Romans 8:31, 37 (NIV)