faith and baseball

I love 7/8 baseball. It's so fun to watch these boys that are really getting the game. In 5/6, they learn the basics of the game, but it's just sort of painful cute to watch. By 7/8, the boys make the game exciting....they are learning the subtleties of the game and their individual positions, and their own personal talents and gifts begin to shine.

One of the most difficult things for the boys to do is to look to their coaches after they hit the ball. Their inclination is to watch the ball in play and see what is going to happen. In practice, the coaches drill into them "When you hit the ball, drop the bat and RUN! Watch the coaches to see what to do next." It's a matter of trust, really. Does the 3rd base coach really know what's going on? Will I be safe if I follow his lead?

Will I be safe if I follow His lead?

That is the bottom line of faith, isn't it? Once we hit the ball and acknowledge that Jesus is our Savior, He instructs us to, well, drop the bat and run. To go into the world and make disciples. To love God first and our neighbor second. To give everything up and follow Him.

As we are rounding the bases, how many times do we take our eyes off our Coach? We get tagged out time and time again because we've taken our eyes off of Him, wondering if He really sees the big picture. The thing is, we cannot run and look around at the same time. We would fall every.single.time. We really have no choice but to trust that He sees it all and is either telling us to stay where we are or to run harder, keep coming, don't look back....

Sometimes I foolishly forget that my Coach is on my team. Heck, he founded my team. He cares more about it's survival and success than I do. His reputation is at stake. We are an individualistic people {that is my made up word for selfish} we like to think we can do it all on our own. We like to think we are responsible for our successes. Just as Griffin's coach desperately wants a win, God wants a win from me.

Through me.

In me.

God can see that each little individual success adds up to one ginormous win for His team. Each time I choose Him over me. Each time I give a little more of myself, my time, or my money....each time I listen to a hurting soul, tend to a broken heart, touch a wounded body.

'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Taking our eyes off of ourselves is so stinkin' hard, though. It's not easy to stay focused on someone that isn't, well, me. I'm so much like Peter, who was walking along on the long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. Once he looked away, he began to sink. That is just so me. I find myself treading water more often than I care to admit.

The thing about it all is that it just takes practice. Griffin and his teammates have to consciously fix their eyes on Coach Craig over on 3rd and refuse to take their eyes off of him. With practice, they have gotten really quite good at it. They have to fight that internal battle to not look out to see for themselves where the ball is and what is happening on the field.

As Griffin and the rest of the team round 3rd and go sliding, running, skipping, and flying into home plate, they are awarded with a multitude of high fives, slaps on the back, butt, and helmet. They are surrounded by stands full of parents and siblings on their feet, yelling and cheering and clapping wildly. They can at last look up and see the scoreboard. The big picture.

And one day, prayerfully, as we round 3rd and head for home, we will see the same thing. Those that have gone on before us will be just like those in the bleachers at the ball park....standing, applauding, and cheering us on. We will get a whole lot of heavenly high fives and saintly slaps on the back.

And then our Coach will look us in they eye and say "Well done..." And He will point to the scoreboard, and on it we will be able to see for ourselves...The Big Picture.

So go ahead....

The next inning is about to start....

Play Ball!

Urgent prayer request

Today as I was praying for my sweet friend Tricia, I came across this old blog post I wrote years ago as she was waiting for a double lung transplant. Every day back then, heck -- every breath -- was a miracle.

And then I wrote this and Tricia was triumphantly the owner of brand new lungs.

Today Tricia is again in a fight for her life as she is experiencing organ rejection. Please pray --- right now --- for her, for Nathan, and for sweet little Gwyneth.