The Catcher

Ever notice the catcher in a baseball game? He’s the one crouching down, ever watchful. A very important part of the equation, isn’t he? What a position! Pretty defensive, but, when the need arises he can be very offensive as he plays hard for his team. He catches that runner as he rounds third plate and heads toward home at full steam, before he can reach his goal of scoring a point!

white and red baseball player with black face helmet and brown leather mitts

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Let’s take a closer look. When he enters the field and takes his position at the bottom of home plate, he is present for the first and last events of the game shall we say, the runs coming in and strike outs at the plate. He is properly dressed for the job with hat,  face mask, chest protector, leg guards, catcher’s mitt and cleated shoes that dig in to hold his position.

When we think about life, we could compare ourselves to a baseball catcher. No, really, we are given by our “manufacturer” all the equipment we need to be able to handle our “position.” But, what if our equipment becomes compromised? What happens then?

Suppose our  hat has been blown off by a particularly strong storm, an emotional event that took us by surprise. We may feel uncovered, vulnerable with our thoughts a bit muddied or dusty from the stray debris that has been deposited on our mind. Is our perception clear? Can our vision actually be affected and distorted because we are wearing a face mask that has became bent and broken during an unforeseen accident that pitched us forward onto some hard ground?  Let’s continue looking.

Hurt and abuse may have damaged our chest protector leaving our heart bleeding and torn. The protective cushioning that was originally placed there by the “manufacturer” has become damaged and ineffective.

Constantly tripping up and making mistakes can be the result of leaving our leg guards behind when entering dangerous territory. Because of our muddied thinking, we may have become forgetful and not mindful of what we need to don for our daily walk. And how are we to handle things? Reaching out spontaneously to touch what may be forbidden will leave us burnt, hurt and often disfigured with our mitt soiled and torn.

Lastly, where are we going? Are we wearing our protective foot covering when traversing through life? Abuse and injury, either by someone else, life’s circumstances or our own doing can lead us to a place of confusion and pain. Often touching others with that same harmful behavior.

Even though this is just an analogy, we can feel like that beat up catcher who  has has his protective gear destroyed. We know that our loving Father has sent us here to be part of his world, his Kingdom. But, the events of life can surely take us on many different roads, some being very difficult to trek. Jesus told us that in this life we would have trouble. Sometimes I think, “well, thanks Jesus!” But, he also said to be of good cheer because He overcame the world. Sigh of relief. He has already done this! The work is finished!

He is the one who can lead us back to wholeness. Whatever that may look like for each of us. Perhaps a straightened gait or cleared mind, or sharper vision with thoughts that bring joy. Broken hearts can be made whole when they are placed into His hands that His word tells us, have been engraved with our very names.

For sure, this may not be easy, it may be extremely difficult to turn our faces toward His. Hurt and unbelief and lies all seem to be clouding our vision. But he is also there to help us. Just one glance in His direction can turn our perspective in a thousand different ways. His ways are higher than ours He says. Taking that first step in our dirty and worn out shoes will lead us to the path of healing and freedom. He asks us, to “come.”  He will restore our “equipment” and help us move on to take our position, bend down, dig in and get the work done. Lastly and most importantly, finish the game well!

Ephesians 6, Hebrews 12, Philippians 3

baseball player in gray and black uniform running

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Don’t run back!!! It’s still yucky there!

When I read the account of the crossing of the red sea I stand amazed at the awesome God we serve. I marvel at what happens afterward in the now free from slavery crowd of people who gaze upon their current situation with  dissatisfaction. Even after experiencing first hand what the mighty power of God had done, the Israelites still found time to gripe and complain when their conditions got a bit more challenging. After walking across on dry land as the water of the great Red Sea stood at attention on either side of them during their God-made exodus and escaping the terrifying army that Pharaoh had pounding down upon them with horses, soldiers and chariots, the memory of what they thought were “better days” came back to taunt them. In Exodus 16:3 we read, “If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”

So why in the world would death or life as a slave be so enticing? The answer, the enemy and his lies. When we come out of a victory or a triumph we stand in that for a while marveling at the Lord and how much he loves us and how he provided a way out for us. Eventually, life gets in the way and normal and mundane days become less exciting and we lose that emotional high we had just after winning that last battle. We slip into a place where we forget how important it is to seek and rely upon God for the things we need. We get “ordinary” again and life gets boring. We notice how big our needs become and we forget how big our God is. We get to a place of complacency and that is the very space the devil is looking for. That space where we forget to pray or thank God for what we need daily. We forget, ‘give us this day, our daily bread.’  We forget that we can do nothing without Him. And then our mind becomes sluggish and we go down the slope of whining about what we don’t have instead of remembering what the Lord has done for us. Then, in they slither. Those thoughts, the ones that take us back, back to where we used to be. How life was when WE were in charge, before we placed ourselves under God’s authority and protection. Like little snakes they come. Worming their way into our minds and once again we find ourselves in that place of want and need. That place that we previously escaped.

Oh how we wish we would have taken those thoughts captive, as it says in 2 Corinthians:5 and not have traveled down this road. But take heart! This is not the end. We serve a forgiving God and when we arrive at this place of woe, He is still there to forgive us and lead us back to victory! And rest assured, as we practice this “taking thoughts captive” and continue to rest and rely on Him and His word, we will surely walk in that victorious life that we crave so much and the life that God has provided for us through the cross. We just need to remember that Jesus already did the work   http://wp.me/p37EgM-a  and that all we need do is step into obedience to his word and allow Him to lead us.

Running back to the yuck is part of the journey. As we progress through and press toward the mark as Paul says, we will become less likely to go back there. We will be able to stop and regroup our thoughts and keep our mind on Him and His word in order to continue on the path that He has laid out before us. Phil. 3:14.

Thank you Lord that you have made a way for us. We come to you with great anticipation and excitement as you lead us toward that goal of  living life victoriously! Amen

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