Thursday, May 24, 2007

Play ball!

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: 2 Chronicles 19, 20, 21

II Chronicles 20:12 (NIV)

12 O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.

Good morning!

Some of the best lessons I’ve learned in life have come in times of complete inadequacy. Do you ever wonder why God might choose to use you for His kingdom work? He is the Lord God Almighty and He can do anything! He is so perfect in every way; powerful and awesome in majesty. His loving kindness is greater than anything we can even begin to comprehend. His judgments are sure, and our God is steadfast and faithful in all things. So why in the world would He ask someone like me to take a step up in faith for Him?

Pitiful does not even begin to describe my lack of coordination on the softball field. I’ve never discerned out how to use that crazy baseball mit. It feels like a giant blindfold – I cannot figure out how to squeeze the ball and hold onto it. Even if it were the size of a small satellite dish, that crazy baseball mit would not be a large enough target. A word to the wise – do not ever hand me a baseball bat. Even with the best of intentions, a baseball bat in my hand can be a very dangerous thing. When I swing, I give it everything I’ve got, and I generally end up hitting everything except the ball. I want to publicly apologize for the many catchers I have creamed over the last forty years. It was mostly unintentional, but I confess there were a few moments when their raucous laughter and cutting remarks made me want to lash out irrationally, and I did. Church softball teams pay me to sit on the sidelines and cheer; especially the teams that like to win occasionally. I am totally and utterly inadequate when it comes to playing ball.

Jehoshaphat had messed up again. It wasn’t the first time his disobedience had put the people he loved in extreme danger. There was no way he was going to win this war without help divine intervention from above. Even with the poor choices he had made, Jehoshaphat had a relationship with the only power source he needed to survive. He knew that the Lord would honor humble hearts, so he instructed his entire community to get serious about repentance. The nation came together for a fast. They devoted the time normally spent in food preparation and eating to penitent and sincere prayer. When I don’t eat for a period of time, I begin to feel physically weak. In that weakness, I am reminded of God’s enduring strength. It brings me to a place where I absolutely have to hand my inadequacies to the Lord, and trust Him to carry me.

When we stop focusing what we can or cannot do, and begin to look toward the Lord, trusting in His grace and mercy alone, life becomes an entirely new ball game. Do you feel totally inadequate to step up to the plate and take a swing for the Lord? I know in my heart that I do not deserve the opportunity to come to the plate. Imperfect, inadequate, totally undeserving of His grace and mercy; I have no natural talent or ability to offer Him. The only thing I have to give is the heart He created within me. And it is easier to return our lives to the Lord when we realize it was His gift to us in the first place.

Do not be afraid to get into the game, even if you suck at it. Like Jehoshaphat, we’ve all made some pretty serious mistakes. Jesus offers forgiveness when we sincerely repent and trust Him completely to do what He says He will do. His Word is sure. He is faithful in all things. Stop trying to be the great athlete you are not. Good works only go so far. Have a little faith! In your weakness, He is strong, and He will win the battle for you today, if you are willing to hand Him your heart.

Play ball!

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: the wisdom of Jehoshaphat. We will never be good enough, perfect enough, or smart enough to earn God’s favor. It is only in our inadequacy that we experience the grace and mercy of salvation through Jesus Christ. Won’t you give Him your life today, and allow Jesus to fill you with His courage to step up to the plate for Him.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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