On Second Thought


Deuteronomy 31:8: The LORD goes before you and will be with you; God will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.


I don’t know if you have ever been unable to think of something or someone’s name. Or, to put it another way, as far as I am concerned, can I ever think of something the first time I want to? The answer to that is, about half the time.

For every curse, there is a blessing, however, and I discovered that while working crosswords. If I had gone through all the clues and find I don’t have any idea what the words are, it does me no good to stare at the puzzle and go over and over the clues. Nothing comes. But if I put the crossword down and do something else for a while and come back to it, I can usually find most of the answers. Notice I said, “most of the answers.” I’m still waiting on perfection as well, and I think you know the likelihood of that happening in this life time.

The same principle works for me if I can’t remember a name or if the Nats won or lost last night (although here lately that has become much easier), it doesn’t do any good to walk around obsessing on what I can’t remember. It simply won’t come that way, and although my brain is fond of obsession, some other part of me is crying out, “Give it up! This won’t work!” My brain puts up quite a fight, but if I can conquer its insistent voice and think of nothing (which is easy for me) or something else, the answer will appear, in 20 minutes (rarely) or in a long a time as six hours (the current record).

I think my struggle with remembering has a spiritual side as well. We go along in life, and when we run into an obstacle, we try to force our way through, we can’t surmount it, no matter how hard or how long we try. I think we do this because we believe that we are in charge not only of ourselves, but of the whole universe. You and I know that that job is already taken, and if we relax, let go of our obsession with control, and turn the matter over to God, the answer will come. We don’t know how long that will take—the Israelites waited nearly 2000 years for a Messiah. I doubt that most of our questions will take that long, but I think that believers will have an answer. That is the great promise of God, and the greatest fulfillment of any promise came with the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Praise God for God’s promises, for making them come true and in doing so, giving us eternal life. Amen.


Running with Two Outs



Bryce Harper Scoring

Jeremiah 23:23-24: “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord, “And do not I fill heaven and earth?”

I don’t know if you like baseball, but I do. Notice that I said, ‘like,’ not ‘adore,’ ‘can’t live without,’ or ‘must have above all else.’ Obviously, I have to do without the game in the off season, and while I might be gloomy about that at time, I do manage to survive somehow until the next season starts. I’m not a big enough fan that I would miss a daughter’s wedding for a game, largely because I would want to be on this earth a while longer. We heard of someone who didn’t come to his daughter’s wedding because a football game was being played that he said he wouldn’t miss, and he didn’t. And no, he didn’t win Father of the Year for that.

One situation in baseball that I like happens when there are one or more men on base with two outs and a count of  three balls and two strikes on the batter. The runners know they can start running on the next pitch because one of a limited number of events can occur. The batter may strike out and the inning is over, or the batter may foul a pitch off and the inning continues, or the batter may walk and the inning continues, or the batter may get a hit, possibly scoring one or more of the runners. What these situations have in common is that the runners are safe in running, provided they don’t fall down between bases. In other words, the situation takes care of itself.

It occurred to me that God takes care of every situation, regardless of what has happened or what will happen. All that we have to do is confess our sins and believe that God is our salvation, and that’s it. It’s as easy as praying that simple prayer. And when we do, we know we can run through this life with confidence, knowing that we can come home standing up with no problem.  Thanks be to God for being present at all times and in all circumstances, and for the gift of Jesus Christ, who redeemed us by his death on the cross and who knows about and takes care of every situation, especially those when the count is three and two. Amen.