Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to the cross where Thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord, to Thy precious bleeding side.”
I am Thine, O Lord (F.J. Crosby & W.H. Doane)
I saw his dad the other day. And the moment from over thirty years ago came rushing back.
The score was knotted at zero in the fifth inning of this baseball tilt pitting all-stars players from our North Florida area against those from a team in Central Florida. The winner of the game would play the next day for the right to go to the State of Florida—Pony League championships. I was doing my best to coach them toward that goal.
With my focus on the game and each pitch, I never saw the clouds forming high in the sky behind the backstop.
But he did. Of course.
He was our spectacular center-fielder with an always unpredictable approach to life and life’s happenings. As I watched their hitter loft a routine fly ball toward where he was positioned in center-field, I realized he wasn’t moving toward the ball. He was looking into the sky—at the clouds—completely oblivious to what was happening in the game.
From the dugout, I screamed his name—too late—the ball fell at his feet. The other team scored to go ahead. When our team came off the field at the end of the inning, I asked him what happened.
“Coach”, he said, while pointing to the clouds high in the sky behind the backstop, “don’t those clouds look like a HUGE pinball game?” I told him to get ready to hit, doing my best to hide a smile I couldn’t restrain.
We clawed our way back into the game to win, and then played well enough—with no more unusual cloud formations—to win the next day to go to the State Championships. Our centerfielder played well and was a key component to our success, but he has been clawing his way back into the life he was meant to live ever since.
He has spent too many years fighting temptations and addictions, struggling to find himself, dealing with relationships too often going bad. He worked through them once, became gainfully employed, got married, had children—and then a crushing divorce caused him to fall back into the grip of the temptations of all too familiar addictions. Crippling addictions.
He has begun to claw his way back again. Many of us will be there to help.
But the One who will always be there to help that young man the most is the One he needs to draw nearer to forever. Draw nearer to…
the One who wants that young man close to Him….
the One who will remind him of how wonderfully created he is…
the One who will answer the door when temptations knock on his life again…
the One who will heal the heartache he feels from broken relationships…
the One who will remind that young man that He sent His Son to die for him—yes, him—on the cross.
He is the same One available to each one of us as we claw our way back into the day and the life we were meant to live. The same One who every day reaches out to each of us to draw us nearer to His precious side. The same One Who will walk with us, listen to us, laugh with us, cry with us, heal our broken hearts and lives, and lift us to the glorious sunshine of all the promise and potential He placed in our lives…when no one else can or will.
Look up. You may not see a huge pinball or video game formed by the clouds in the sky, but you will always see Him, sense His presence, and be able to touch His face smiling down upon you—as He draws you nearer to His precious side.
Look up, young man.
Look up, dear friends.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2016. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.