Posted by: pmarkrobb | June 26, 2017

“Heads up!”

It’s definitely baseball season in the Robb household.  My oldest son is the umpire (his summer job last year and again this year).  My youngest son is the player (and we’re truly proud of the kind of player he chooses to be).  Dad is the score keeper (a passion since i was young — i still have the program and scorecard from the time my dad took me to Yankee Stadium in 1982.  My Yankees won 14-2 over the Milwaukee Brewers.  Dave Reghetti pitched a complete game five-hitter and one of my favorite players, Dave Winfield went 3-4 with a Grand Slam Home Run in the bottom of the second to break the game open).  And Mom is the #1 fan and Robb Team Manager (her baseball bag is stocked with everything from sunflower seeds to instant ice packs to sunscreen to an old school pencil and paper scorebook – as backup for the official score keeper in case his technology fails him in the middle of the game).

There’s a phrase i hear a lot these days … “Heads up!”  It’s unclear where the phrase originated, but it certainly suits the game of baseball … especially when you play tournaments at fancy facilities that have four fields clustered together where you need to keep your head on a swivel for foul balls.  And on that note, it still amazes me how many times i hear or say, “Heads up!” only to watch people immediately cover their head and duck down.  i still believe seeing something is the best way to respond to it, but maybe a psychologist would tell me “duck and cover” is at the very top of the self-preservation instinct scale.

i have a personal story i’d like to share with you which i pray brings the “Heads up” phrase into the context of our journey of following Jesus.

A little bit more than a month ago, i was a bit late in leaving my Wednesday morning men’s group heading to work.  As i started the car, i noticed i needed gas.  There are four preferred options on my way to work, but my gas gauge suggested it would be wise to choose the nearest.  Yet as i approached the first option, something within me urged me to keep going.  i passed by the station making a mental note of the per gallon price (i guess i was beginning to build a case to justify the risk of continuing by the reward of a few cents savings).  As i neared the next station, I felt the urge again.  It’s impossible to explain the feeling, except that it was very real.  The third option was not on my normal route to work (It’s on my typical route home and is usually the cheapest, but would be out of my way in the morning).  “That must be it,” i thought.  As if God works in mysterious ways to save me a buck and a half on a tank of gas.  i took the out-of-the-way path and threw on my blinker to make the right hand turn into the station.  But then, there it was again.  I made a right turn, but onto a side street just before the cheapest option.  The choice had been made in that moment.  It would be the fourth and final option.  While i admit i was confused, i was strangely joyful in having “finally made a decision.”

i pulled into the Marathon station just a block from the building where i work.  Four cents more expensive than the third station … there goes the buck and a half theory!  After putting the car in part and turning the key, i opened the glove box to retrieve my gas envelope.  It was stuck between a few things, so it took some time fumbling with it until i retrieved the cash and exited the car to walk into the station.  As i passed by the front of my car, i noticed another vehicle cutting closely through cars that were sitting at pumps on the inside lanes of the station.  This was my heads-up moment.  i noticed the car was navigating gingerly, so i kept a close eye.  i noticed the driver was focused to her immediate left and right to be sure not to graze the cars that were only inches away on either side.  i paused to wait and watch.  As the driver made her way most of the way through, she tapped the gas and her car lunged forward.  She pulled into to the opposite side of my pump, quickly stopped, made eye contact and waved me across.  i obliged and continued on into the station.

As i returned to my car, the driver was out of her car and beginning to pump.  i decided i would say hello and apologize if i had added to her any panic a minute earlier.  She was very kind in responding and i walked to my car and began pumping myself.  We were on opposite sides of the same pump and as i stood waiting, i decided to strike up a conversation.  My new friend’s name was Danette and it did not take long in conversation to sense that she was carrying a heavy burden.  Not seeking to pry but willing to listen, i asked only a few simple questions.  Danette responded with the most beautiful story that was as sad as it was stunning.  It seemed obvious that God knew Danette just needed someone who’d listen and offer back some simple kindness on what was a bit of a stressful start to a very heavy day.  She acknowledged as much in our few minutes together and didn’t tire in thanking me for listening and being there at that particular station at that particular time.  i felt confident that Danette was a believer, and she acknowledged this was no random encounter.  i shared a bit of what i hoped would be comfort, and shared a very broad explanation that i did not arrive at the station randomly that morning.  After a final and extended hug, Danette said, “You know, the most amazing thing is that I was actually here at this same station last night.”  She was trying to be prepared and came to get gas the night before.  All good, except one small detail … as she parked and went to get out of the car, she discovered that she had left her wallet at home.

You have likely experienced situations like this before.  Situations where God leads you (and usually someone else) to a specific place at a specific moment in time to do or be something He specifically needs.  Those moments are thrilling and they only happen by virtue of divine math and purpose.  And i would suggest that they only happen for you when you are choosing to live “Heads up!”  God is not limited by the degree to which you are paying attention, but He will not pull a string to manipulate your choice either.  Live “Heads up!”  Stay close to Him.  Listen.  Obey the prompts.  Observe what (and who) is right in front of you and in your periphery.

God invites us into the divine every single day – kingdom moments that thrill and feed our soul; busted and burdened people who Jesus deeply loves and died in order to reach and redeem.  God invites us to be a part of the work He is doing in the world.  “Heads up!”


  1. Encouraging, purposed and joyful morning with your Father and His creation! Encouraging, purposed and joyful to hear of it! 🙂

  2. Great thought, it’s so easy to get swept along in life and miss the Lord’s voice. Thanks for the reminder. “Heads Up”. ⚾️

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