One, Two, Three Strikes, He Wins!
Running for Home
One, Two, Three Strikes He Wins!
Dissensions, demise, division are overwhelming; tell me you don’t hear the banter? The game of life can feel or sound like that chatter at a baseball game where your team is losing. Some shout support, others condemn, not showing their best selves. Definitely, not supporters of the organization!
We try our best to balance in the whirlwind without being blown over by it. Regardless of our connection points, we join the downward spiral missing the link and challenging moments to our overall gameplay. Why do we give up before the next inning, either as a single-player or as part of a team? Here’s a guess?
The world keeps the focus on giving adrenaline hype to the negative. This attention to the bad makes the fight to move forward somewhat futile. In this futility, it seems more natural to fail. While at times necessary, it’s essential to get back up and continue. It may take a few innings to regroup, but God makes sense of our strikeouts and brings us back in the game. Life attempts to tell us otherwise. Again, God is with us for the win.
During the game, when at-bat, we receive the pitch and run like hell toward home plate. We may stumble, pull a muscle, or worse, get ejected from the game, causing an immediate depletion in energy. In these moments of pain or embarrassment, we forget all innings matter; even those cut short are part of our season. Though some drag, emotion attaches to the joys of performance, not circumstance, but rather the power within that comes from Christ Alone.
Make Your Attitude Worth Catching
Taking a Base it's not Always Easy Street Even When on the Right Team
Team attitudes influence an outcome, and performance is subjective to their mindset, but there's a collective responsibility to give our best effort. The whole point is to work toward the end goal. To lose even one player along the way has a consequence.
The power of deceit is eager to divide us from our goal, and this battle is ongoing. Each inning has importance; the aim is to get home and leave no players on base. If a player has an off-game, the team rallies in support, allowing correction while understanding players will have challenging seasons. Still, there are times when the coaching is not enough, and a player gets stuck. It is not your job if they don't take the coaching to fix them. Point them toward the playbook and tell them to get studying.
We all have the same playbook at our disposal in the word of God. Give folks time to let Him coach them through the tough plays. As for you, the best thing you can do is get on your knees for them and leave them at the feet of Jesus. He will do the rest! Don't get it twisted; you are not the coach; you are a team player.
Take the pitch
Hit and Run
One of the most fabulous events during a game is the grand slam hit. We applaud the runner heading home uninterrupted like it’s an easy street; the truth is, this is rarely more so than reality. However, we learn from each run as we round the bases.
Every so often, the extra-long innings fuel with tenacity as we wait for three outs to make it to a new one. In the stretch, the highs and lows spar, and the fight-or-flight reactions ensue. We hurry, considering the quickness of decision, our best options, as all parts of the game are essential to our series.
I’ve had a few innings of late where I wished for a runner to take my base or for the Umpire to call the game, believing I understood what the outcomes should be. However, challenging in play; therefore, “We need not lean on our understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6) “
Sometimes we grow weary in the middle of an inning, needing rest, yet unable to take one, or not allowing ourselves to sit the bench for an inning or two. We may require the coach to step in guide us, and He does. Sad that, at times, the attitude of hopelessness clouds our ability to hear Him coaching. Maybe it is time to put on the rally cap of hope and let Him get you going again. Your attitude is contagious when covered in the dirt; we need to brush off the dust and prep for another inning. Because no matter what, it is essential, and it is not about you. It is about the game, the series, and the big picture.
We can come to the end of a game, or there’s a delay, and though not our choice, we try to understand the purpose even when it’s not apparent. While the experience of missing a game is robust, sometimes sitting on the sidelines, we can review the plays with God. He makes sense of it all; He shares strategies to heal and improve, and then you’re ready for the next inning.
A good player looks forward to using what brought them to a certain point using the wisdom earned from previous games. Trying a new approach to the repetitive negatives can move one in a positive direction, but again, there’s a power on earth that wants to keep you from getting home.
It wants to keep our focus on other players or teams, their pros, and cons, instead of improving us for the team's benefit and one another. The crowd's distracting, and we retreat, sit out, or stop trying, and the game falls apart. We shame and blame (Proverbs 6:16-19), argue and complain (Phil 2:14-16), all things with proper instruction within the first playbook.
There may be an inning of loss and destruction due to an opponent, or we don’t need the opponent as we beat ourselves up enough. We’re all players on the field. One day you get the game ball, and the next, you can’t connect with it even once.
Life tells you once you’re part of the team, it will be a forever connection, and many times, it’s not the case as teammates disappoint. But God wants us connected to Him first! He’s the lifeline that never unravels, even when other players or we become unwrapped.
If He allows us to fall, He’s planning the rebuild. He gives us experiences, moves our position, and makes us better players. Think of the strikeouts as a means of simple correction? Consider timeouts in the innings as a way to change strategies and then make a new play.
If You Fall
When others assume our positions, they won’t understand our care methods, too, as they aren’t experiencing your inning in the same way. Each person experiences life differently in a unique and spiritual pull.
Players and coaches alike ruffle with pride or attack when the umpire makes a call. They may share untruths and perpetuate a lack of momentum toward the win. We assume without knowing the truth about the request. Is what we hear factual? Are we sure of what we are seeing without the ability to put life in slow motion long enough to face the review of action and witness the scene's truth?
Is the call not to love one another despite our truths?
As players in the game, we wonder why God allows certain things to happen? Some innings seem okay, and others not so much. There’s no need to worry when submitting to prayer as truth prevails. Nonetheless, while we don’t mean to get in the way, it happens, as our weaknesses are prevalent.
Love others in your game the best you can, period! Hold one another to His love; there’s no need to fix or change people; we need to practice the virtue of patience as God walks us through our innings in His timing. He is better at it, but we forget we’re not Him. We can stay in the game; we need to spend more time working on our skills as potential game-changers and stop coveting our neighbors’ gifts or actions.
Why do we expect perfection from people who have flaws similar to our imperfect selves? By submitting to His sufficient grace, the Spirit of God can work through us, and only then do we supply the genuine connection with His presence toward others in our circumstances. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize the power source, is it yourself, someone else, or have we let our battery run down far enough for the pure energy of the Holy Spirit to shine through?
As we come to depend on the Holy Spirit more, others may scoff as we speak of Him. What if they saw God in us? I bet they would mock less, a mere thought, but provoking, don’t you think! Are we showing His light, or are we dimming? When God is in the game, the field lights up with excitement, but as kids tend to get into mischief, they tend to throw some hardballs, knocking out some of the great light.
Like the fly ball, our words and actions can cause damage to their accidental release; hard balls hurt! We need to stop flailing them in destruction and let the gameplay out with God’s grace, not our own.
No One is Perfect
Let God nudge you toward unity and remove the focus off worldview. We aren't usually the ones that handle figuring out the stories! Our greed for being right keeps the focus on the situation's sinful nature and not on forgiveness. Love people; forgive them, pray for them, and let God decide the plays. We should stop telling people how to live based on our own opinion and live according to the word of God. If we stop analyzing people and situation, we become more open to what God is working through it, moving closer to unity in purpose.
No matter how we play our inning, we can mess up; cheat, lie, steal, or win, and God’s shows plan for every bit of the game. He assures us of this truth. It will be tough, you may feel broken, and you will lie to yourself, to others, and then submit again to the flesh.
The good news is God loves us; He shares that love through others. Be careful, or you may miss whom He is sending to be your pinch hitter. He loves you, forgives you, will not harm you, and works all things for good. The focus on earth fails compared to His Majesty and our heavenly home.
Earthly good seeks to distract us as we experience this game. It's a little paint-by-number game compared to the tapestry of Heaven gates. If broken today, God is moving you to your tomorrow. He is using your story as part of His. Our hearts should break for what breaks His, and then maybe the weeping in the world would turn to tears of joy.
While I’m not sure what part of life’s inning you’re in, the climb, the top of the downward spiral, know this, God wants you to experience Him in your moments. He will make it clear sometimes in minutes, months, or even years from now. But, when you see how paying attention to the game made you sense God more, He will be all you seek.
These life moments are surreal compared to their future purpose. Are we getting answers or clouding the beautiful outcome with our thoughts and reactions? Life should draw us closer in unity to the design of God’s plan and purpose and not that of our own. Brokenness is a breeding ground for deceit and wants to blur the full supply of God’s Spirit.
The opposing force wants us to separate and turn away from home, but God's hand in ours is if we look into the storm. However, the pull of fictitious wind is swirling to distract from the fact He never let go.
When frustrated and looking at your current inning with an evil glare, He still chooses you. You may have harmed someone while unintentionally, or perhaps it was intentional, always He is there to take you back into His arms of forgiveness. Maybe you turned your back or misrepresented the truth, and yet, He chooses you. Then there are the times the plank obstructs your view in your eye; He still wants you.
It’s understandable to get confused, even angry! Go ahead, have the tantrum, talk to Him like the real dad He is, share your feelings in the conversation. Tell Him, He doesn’t understand what it’s like, tell Him you can’t, you won’t, you don’t want to, and He will still choose you. Because of the cross, John 3:16, God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish and have eternal life.
You don't know, but no worries God gets it!
Beware of Schemes when Making a Choice
How sad that He keeps choosing us, and we keep deciding whom to choose? I’m imperfect, flawed; we all are as we act foolishly in reaction to the game's umpire calls. Separation and division is a powerful ploy of the enemy. We play into his hands when not falling into God’s love.
He encourages us to beware of the schemes of deceit; while persecution is real, He brings us always closer because separation breaks His heart, but He knows us so well and wants us to seek Him first.
God gives coaching for the win, telling us there will be stringent tests on what He is sharing. He allows the completion of acts for others through us. The remarkable thing is our Father chooses us when we don’t want Him. When we hide or run from that which is hard, He gets closer still. When we separate in body and or mind, He holds our heart in the dormant state to rest it up for the new inning.
He will choose us every time, and we need to accept Him right back. God is in the game with us, so get the ball back to Him because no matter what, one, two, three strikes, He wins.
You're Gonna Be Okay
© 2017 Kathy Henderson