Tag: transformation

Ice Cream after Disaster

PREPARATION

Major disasters rock our world. They may even transform us for a time, but truth is, even after all the promises to never forget and to get serious about faith, we fail.

Why is that?

Does faith wear out or does it get pushed out? On most occasions I think the latter. Sometimes it’s outright defiance, sometimes it’s carelessness, but most faith failures can be traced back to a subtle and sometimes sinister struggle to be on our own, to accomplish some form of personal success. At best we want God to see what we can do on our own. But, peel back the surface, and dig deep…truth is, we long to be on the receiving end of the praise, not the giving end. “Wow, look at him/her!”

Think of our prayer time: how much of our conversation with God is about “praying to get” and how much is about “praying to give?” Do we tend to speak a wish list, asking God to be part of our story? Or do we ask God to show us how to give so we can be part of HIS story?

He already knows our hearts. He knows our “want to” gets short-circuited, leaving us feeling ashamed and alone. He knows just when to show up. He understands our “wanter” weakness. He has understood since the beginning.

After Peter’s well-documented denials about being friends with Jesus, shame overwhelmed him. But, Jesus was not about to leave Peter adrift in disgrace and dishonor. Peter needed a fresh encounter with the Almighty.

At just the right time, Jesus gives Peter a heart-check. Not because Jesus needed to know how committed Peter was, but because Peter needed to know how gracious Jesus was. Don’t miss this point.

Jesus didn’t deal with the failure. There was a simple heart-check and then a new encounter, time together, a new mystery to unwrap, a new direction in life.

Our failures can, if we let them, turn into God encounters. In them, God transforms our shame into an encounter of grace and a divine invite. He uses the moment to draw close to us.

Our successes tend to push us away from him. Pain and failure draw us near.

That’s what faith can do.

INSPIRATION

It was going to be a Championship Little League game Jeff would never forget. Virtually the whole town had traveled the fifty miles to watch their youngsters play. Not just parents, mind you, neighbors, teachers, preachers, and girls too.

It was a tight game for both teams. By the bottom of the ninth Jeff’s team was ahead, but by only one run. After two quick hits, a walk, a run saving, diving catch by the center fielder, and an infield pop-fly, the opposing team’s best hitter came to the plate. He swung wildly at the first two pitches then stepped out of the batter’s box, checked with his coach and stepped in.

The tension mounted as he stood there letting the pitcher take the count to 3 balls and 2 strikes. Then, on the next pitch the batter hit the ball straight to Jeff at shortstop. Jeff got a great jump on the ball, but didn’t get his glove down enough and the ball squirted between his legs. By the time he recovered and reached the ball, two runs scored. The game was over.

While the winning team and its fans celebrated in a victor’s frenzy, Jeff threw his glove down and plopped down on the infield grass feeling all the pain of the moment. He was humiliated, angry at the ball, and disgusted with himself.

In the midst of the confusion, Jeff’s dad made his way through the crowd onto the playing field. When he reached his son, without hesitation, he picked up the glove and sat down on the infield grass, next to Jeff. After a few moments of silence, Dad threw the glove down and said, “That’s got to hurt more than anything that’s ever happened to you!”

Dad didn’t ask what happened. He didn’t say, “We’re going to have to work on your fielding.” He didn’t try to diminish or deny the pain of the moment; he just accepted it as it was.

Dad just wanted to be there for his hurting son. The pain was still crushing; the missed play was still humiliating, but Dad’s non-judgmental presence helped Jeff move-on.

“Come on,” Dad said, “let’s go get an ice cream.”

MOTIVATION

Jesus loves people right where he finds them, in pain, in frustration, in rebellion, in failure; they don’t have to practice harder, concentrate more, or give 110% to get some ice cream time with God.

We may have trouble forgetting the pain, but God doesn’t. He remembers the close encounter and the new direction.

Even in the midst of disaster, there is a fresh perspective here: Every failure is an opportunity for ice cream with God.

I like that, how about you?

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September 11, 2011 | 1 Comment More