Posted by: pmarkrobb | February 14, 2014

actively watching

It’s been a month and a half now that we’ve been immersed in the words of Jesus.  It’s not possible for me to recount the multitude of intimate and meaningful moments I’ve experienced with Him, even in the earliest part of this year-long journey.  I hope and pray that you could echo back those words out of your own experience.

But here’s a thought that was birthed out of a completely random observation I had this past Monday night while watching my youngest son’s basketball practice.  I wonder if any of you have had a completely different experience than mine so far this year.

I brought a book to practice.  I have coached both my son’s in baseball, and while that experience has been rich and rewarding, I too often find myself slipping into the tendencies of a coach.  I “actively” watch, and a practice or game rarely goes by without some “thoughts” that I offer in the moment, when the memory is fresh for both of us.  So often it starts out as just a small observation … and then we arrive at home ten to fifteen minutes later and I’ve been talking the whole time.  I notice both my boys looking at me from time to time in the midst of competition.  Are they looking for reassurance, approval, or maybe the opposite?  Are they expecting to see a wince or a bowed head, or any number of other body language cues of critique or disapproval?

As I read my book (my plan of defense against “actively” watching), I began to notice a father that sat a few feet to my left.  At first it was an occasional gesture or mouthed instruction, but it wasn’t long before the gestures and comments became more frequent and pronounced.  By mid-practice, just about everything his son did elicited a response.  I closed my eyes and sat a moment in resonance with both the father and the son.

In the fleeting moments before I fell to sleep that evening, my mind traveled back to that experience during practice and the thought I shared earlier began to take shape in my mind.  With all of the words we’ve been consuming since the year began, I wonder if there is anyone that feels a bit like the young basketball player.  A bit like one who is “in the game,” and they’re trying, but they can’t turn around without seeing a less than approving gesture or hearing instruction on what they should have done, or could have done better.  Let’s be honest and admit that we don’t always like what God has to say.  We don’t always hear it from a place of right relationship with Him.  And we aren’t always pleased with the way He works or waits in our lives.  We know with our head that it’s meant for our good.  We “know” that He is always working things out for our good (Rom 8:28), but we just don’t feel that in the midst of our present circumstances.  And maybe that feeling has persisted for a long time.

If that’s you today, let’s both close our eyes and sit a moment in resonance with the both the Father and the Son.  God is most certainly actively watching us.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. (Heb 4:13)  But in the words of Jesus we’ve recently read, Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matt 6:26)  And yes, All scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (2Tim 3:16).  But in the words of Jesus, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matt 4:4)

So it is clear, the “But’s” I use above are not meant to suggest a contrast between what God says and Jesus says.  And I do not offer Jesus’ words as a positive spin on potentially harsh truths.  What I mean to call attention to, is the reality that we sometimes experience or believe God to be like the father that I observed Monday night (the father that I have been at times).  We see his gaze as expressing disappointment or condemnation.  We hear His words as rebuke and correction.

God’s love for us has no limits, and his eye and care are extended to us in greater measure than we can possibly imagine.  He sacrificed his Son and chose the immeasurable pain of separation from Him for those final three hours on Golgotha … all for us.  His words are useful for rebuking and correcting, but they are not constrained to that purpose.  They sustain our very life.  They feed, and breathe life, and teach, and encourage, and comfort as well.

If you are that young basketball player today, I pray that you hear with fresh ears and read with renewed eyes.  God does not wince when you dribble the ball off your foot and out-of-bounds.  Jesus does not hang His head when you miss a wide open layup.  Draw nearer to Him through the words of Jesus.  Close your eyes and sit a moment in resonance with both the Father and the Son.

yeam_2014


Responses

  1. Thank you Father for not taking me out of the game!


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