Wednesday, January 25, 2012

God Plays Basketball

I spent a great deal of time at my very athletic boyfriend’s house when I was a teen drinking all of their milk and eating their ice cream. His parents loved me and his brother hated me (maybe because of the ice cream). We had dated five years and I was proud of that. When God began calling me and him, he refused and I accepted the call.
It went something like this:

I explained how we could not be unequally yoked together and that I couldn’t be in an intimate relationship with him if he would not make Christ the center of his life and become a Christian. He and I were alone that day at the house because my mom had dropped me off. There were no cell phones, really, back then. He full well let me know he wasn’t going to go to church and be what I expected and I was hurt that he was going to throw our whole five year relationship away at this turning point. I was going home! Called mama, but she wasn’t answering. So, I, sulking, sat there in front of him on the couch. I thought “what now, God?” So, the strangest thing happens. Boyfriend asks me if I want to play basketball. Umm, dugh, NO! Play basketball when you are throwing our relationship away? That's how I felt but I yielded instead of letting him have it! First of all, I only played that game when we were bored out of our minds around there for I was allergic to sports and not very adept at them. How could he simply ask me to play a game when my heart was breaking?! Since, I had just asked God “what now” and I had heard somewhere that he works in mysterious ways, I accepted this weird current.

A little background info:
(not my photo)

There was a special spot I stood in when throwing the ball toward the net, it was much closer to the goal than normal. My boyfriend stood farther back in the normal range. He always won but encouraged me through the game. I really hated it. I began making a few good shots that really surprised me. I got the idea that maybe God was going to use this game somehow to fix the problem at hand. So, I got bold and moved to the area that he shot from instead of my little spot. I wanted God to get full glory. Shortly after, the ball hit me in the face-- you could probably see my nose throbbing like a cartoon. I would have used that excuse to quit and he knew it because he ran up to me apologizing and saying, “We don’t have to play, we can go in.” I said “No, we will play the game.” I had just thought to myself while holding my face “a fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering.” So, I would suffer.
Now, my words aren’t going to be able to capture this part but I’ll try. I threw the ball furiously trying to keep it from him and it would go into the net. I was suprisingly good for a bit and he began to argue and cheat over a point (at this point I was flattered). I let him have the point because I knew by now that God WAS in this game. I would win. I played with the faith of a child. Then I made some poor shots again. “Oh no, what’s wrong?” I thought. Then I thought again “Are you going to have faith, still?” I said yes to me and kept trying (although I think, now, some of my thoughts were really not my thoughts at all but the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit). That ball, I would throw it and it would land on top of the entire goal board and spin only to fall into the net. It was hilarious a few times how I kept getting points. But the final win put goose bumps on me with waves of warm joy. Instead of trying to get the ball from me, he stood, watching me as I was going to attempt a three-pointer (all the way back to his chain link fence) to win this game. The girl who had a special spot close to the rim because I had weak upperbody strength, now had a special trot. I was nervous a little though. I steadied and prayed seeing only the ball in my face and the blue, cold sky around it. “Jesus, please help me get this ball in.” I threw it with all I could and IT DID NOT EVEN TOUCH THE RIM, WHOOSH! Into the net it went. I heard “you can do ALL things through Christ that strengthens you.” And I looked at Boyfriend after I did the happy dance for a second, and said to him earnestly, “You can do all things through Christ that strengthens you.”
I have reflected on this story through the years and shared it a few times. It’s funny to me how all of life’s events are like the ups and downs in this game. When I was doing well, it stopped and I began missing shots. Would I still believe? When I got hurt doing something good, would I be willing to suffer for it? Pay for it? Would I know the sufferings of Christ? You will suffer in this world. Either for good or evil. Would I live life in the comfortable special spot or do greater things than my own ability with Christ and faith?
With some of the crazy shots that I had made, I can see that my ability-my own strength-won’t make it by itself—God’s gotta put a spin on it.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, GOD has to put His spin on it... I -dare- you to let Him do it again! ;-) Love you, my friend!