Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Be the Ball

Ball: definition:  a round object used in games and sports.

Be on the ball
Have a ball
Get the ball rolling
Play ball!

Be the Ball? I'm talking about the balls that get used to play sports: footballs, basketballs, volley balls, golf balls, ping-pong balls, baseballs, bowling balls and tether balls.
Why would I want to be the ball? Balls get bounced, tossed around, hit, rolled and kicked. Nothing nice ever happens to the ball. I cannot imagine what the NBA games or the Superbowl, or Tiger Woods would be without a ball. Such a seemingly insignificant, ordinary object but essential to the game.

Watching that little bouncy ball roll down the street the other day started me contemplating about how much life is like being a ball. Often in our lives we are bounced, tossed around, kicked, hit and sometimes lost - left to roll down a street, seemingly nowhere on the busy road of life. Wondering at any moment if the next hit, or kick or throw is going to be the one that "wins the game" or if we are going to be squished by the next car that comes along and runs us over.

                    2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (my paraphrase) We get tossed, kicked, hit and bounced on a daily basis . We don't understand, but we trust the Master. Life hurts but we are not alone. Sometimes the game is lost but we never, ever quit.

                   The Message says: We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't been broken.

                 The English Standard Version says: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

I watched yesterday as that little ball landed in a pothole and missed being squished by the car. I was reminded once again how God in his grace and mercy watches over us and protects us. We may not know how the game will be played.  But we can know that the Champion Player knows how to "play" the game. He knows how to "take on" the rival team and He knows how to "win"

                2 Corthinians 4: 16-18 (My Paraphrase). So we keep on playing. We keep on being the ball. We may lose air and go flat. We may lose our bounciness or be let go to roll down the street. But God sees us and through His grace and mercy - he keeps us in the game. Being bounced, hit, tossed, and kicked will seem like nothing when He finally retrieves us and takes us home. This game only lasts for a short time. It's the game that lasts for eternity that matters.

               The Message  16-18So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever

              English Standard Version - So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renesed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comprehension, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bounce On Bouncy Ball

  The funniest thing I've seen in a long time happened yesterday, just outside of Michaels over on the west side of Colorado Springs. Me and my daughter came out of the store and my daughter stopped me and said, "Look, Mom!" Two grown women suddenly stopped on the sidewalk and stared at this teeny, tiny (probably) about an inch big, rubber bouncy ball, rolling along down the road. The ball rolled about 20 feet or so until it got to the intersection and landed, ker-plop, in a pothole - right at the same time that a car came whizzing by. I thought for sure that the poor little ball was going to be squished. My daughter and I walked to the intersection. I couldn't see the ball that well since it blended in with the road, after all, it was a black bouncy ball. My daughter could see it though and walked into the intersection to retrieve it. Fortunately, there wasn't that much traffic. I asked her if it had been squished and she said "No, it's just dirty." I took the ball, wiped it off and kept it.

What a journey that little black, bouncy ball had gone on. I don't know where it came from. If some little kid had just bought it from a gumball machine from a store up the road from Michaels? Maybe Ross or PetsMart? Did the little kid drop it? Was he now crying because he or she felt like they had lost a treasure? How did that little ball get on the road? Where did it come from?  What dangers had it encountered before it got to this one particular intersection? How fortutitous for there to be a pothole to fall into at the same time that a car came along... Who knew that two women standing on the side of the road would be so enchanted at the sight of a little ball whizzing by that we would go and rescue it?

Isn't that just like life? Who knows why we are here for such a time as this? Who knows that those times when we feel like we have come to a standstill, (in a pothole so to speak), that God might only be protecting us? Who knows when that day will be when God will retrieve us, wipe the dirt off of us and take us home? In return, those who have not ended their journey feel like they have lost a treasure. Meanwhile, we carry on because there is still much more work to do!

Work, for the Day is coming,
  Day in the Word foretold,
When, 'mid the scenes triumphant,
  Longed for by saints of old,
He, who on earth a stranger
  Traversed its paths of pain,
Jesus, the Prince, the Savior,
  Comes evermore to reign

Be the Ball!!!