32 Years of Marriage

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”   Genesis 2:24

This is the third time I’ve commemorated our wedding anniversary on my blog. First was Thirty Years Together in 2015 and 31 Years: A Marriage Album last year.

This year I’m not just looking back at 32 years with my Sweet Julie. This past year I’m feeling more and more happy with being her husband.  I just want time with her.  That’s hard when the job has me traveling so much.  I want to watch movies with her, travel with her, and do whatever else we can think of.  Together.

I’ll turn 60 in June. I’ve been caught up short at the fact that I’m much closer to my end than my beginning.  Given my family history, well, we’re not especially long-lived folks.

However much future I have left, I want to be spent enjoying each other. Whether it’s sitting silently at home reading or taking a trip – long or short – I just want to enjoy her.  I want to listen to her laugh, feel her warmth next to me, tease each other about the same idiosyncrasies as we have for the last 32 years, have countless more Saturday mornings at Panera with a pastry, our books, and talks.

I’d like to revisit Paris and just watch her sipping her “Café’ American” coffee in the little park behind Notre Dame as she did before. Maybe there will be one more new overseas adventure.  Who knows?  Scotland?  Australia?

I’d enjoy another fall Saturday riding our bicycles around Put-In-Bay out in Lake Erie. I remember doing that the fall after my heart surgery.  Fatigued, she had me lay down on some lush grass and sat there next to me as I napped in the fall sunshine.

There are so many good memories, I find myself hungrier for more. I want that now more than I ever have.

I’m reminded not to let time be wasted, because when you have a fine wife every second is precious. We have a trip coming up this year to plan.  There are more holidays.  There are more times with both of our daughters.  There are more evenings spent with friends.

And not a few Saturday mornings with a pastry, a good book, and a chat with the love of my life, my Jewel.

Uncaged

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.   John 16:33DSC_1777

We got a German shepherd when I was still in grade school. Dad named her Duchess.  She was still growing, less than a year old.  Having been abused, she wasn’t much of a puppy.  She simply hid under a bench in the back yard.  I literally had to drag her out from under there.  Playful?  She had no idea.

I don’t know what was done to her, but it couldn’t have been good. Yelling, beating, starving…whatever it was pretty well killed the puppy in her.

It’s amazing what love can do. We loved her, fed her, and taught her to play with us.

That was summer. When the first snowfall came, Mom held her indoors despite her begging to get let out to…go to the “bathroom.”  When we got home, out she went, and she just went nuts with joy, chasing snowflakes, rolling in the thin layer on the grass, trying to catch snowballs that exploded in her mouth.  It was a hoot!

The garage was just a couple feet away from our chain-link fence. There was plenty of room around the other three sides.  I taught her to play chase around the garage.  Once she had the hang of that, I started a round of chasing her.  She would look back to make sure I was following.  This time, however, I let her go, and I ran in the opposite direction.  Carefully coming around the last corner, I spied her looking back, expecting me to show up behind her.  She jumped in the air when shouted at her and then gave me one of those looks that convince you dogs can indeed laugh!

After that, she wanted to chase me to turn the tables on moi!

Duchess went from being caged to uncaged. Even with the physical door gone, she had been too scared to come out of the real cage of her fear.  She eventually came into the world when she knew she could trust us.

There were times she had to be scolded, got hurt doing something…usually in the basement. She HATED the vet.  And the vacuum cleaner.  Life was not always smooth sailing for her, but with her faithful humans smoothing the way, life was a whole lot better than it would have been otherwise.

As I mentioned in my last article, life is terminal. This is Satan’s planet right now, making it a real $h*t place to be much of the time.  We’ve all been abused and knocked around.  Some a whole lot more than others.  Either way, it’s hard to leave the cage even when the Jesus has opened the door.

God forgets sins. We remember them.

We know we deserve the cage. God loves us too much to care.

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

That means there are still snowflakes to chase and garages to run around in this world.

Put your faith in God, accept Jesus, and ask the Holy Spirit to make His home in your heart. And, if you think chasing snow is fun, wait till you finally transition from being marginally alive here to fully alive with God!

It’s OK

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”   Joshua 1:9

I’m sitting here in my office, looking out the window at the sunshine. I just had a good night’s sleep in a comfy bed next to my wife.  Food’s no problem…not at my weight.

“NORM! Whatcha up to?”

“My perfect weight if I was 6 foot 5.” From Cheers.

I have a good job, company car, two beautiful daughters, and a wonderful wife.

I shouldn’t have any of it. Like a lot of people, I suppose, I did stupid things when I was younger.  I doubt I even realize all of them.  My life could’ve taken a drastic turn anywhere along the way.  God has, for whatever reason, spared me the worst consequences of conscious decisions and just sheer stupidity.

He’s literally preserved my life four times when, by all rights, I should be dead. I get my physical makeup from The Shallow End of the Gene Pool.  Heart attack, double bypass, gangrene, and a really bad allergic reaction.  To my heart medicine.  Oh, the irony!

Why am I still alive? I don’t know, specifically.  I can only assume God isn’t done with me yet.  Maybe there are a whole string of little things He wants me to do before my dirt nap.  Maybe there’s one, big, glorious homerun ball to smash over the fence for Him.  I’d like that, but I’m thinking it’s more of the string of little things.

I mean, look at the size of my blog, right? But I’m still motivated to write, so I figure I’m still doing something He wants me to do.

I could bemoan my less than stellar physique, especially considering how healthy and strong I was right up to my bypass surgery. I could, and have been pretty upset…ok, bitter…about layoffs and foreclosure.  I’m still here, though, with a nice house, the aforementioned job, etc.

Like many people, I’ve had to wade through a fair amount of ka-ka to get here, and there’s no assurance there won’t be more. But here’s the thing –

It’s OK, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

This is Satan’s world. Everything in it is riddled with sin.  Life is terminal.  We start dying the moment we’re born.  But –

It’s OK, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

So I keep going, pieces falling off as I continue to rattle and clank down the road like the worst beater car you’ve ever seen. But –

It’s OK, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

The end of your body isn’t the end of your life when you walk with God and have Jesus in your heart. Death on earth is when the good times start.  Oh, I grant you some people go ugly, some in their sleep.  I’ve been close, and it can be painful.  But, having been that close to the grave four different times in four different ways, I know it’s not as bad as I’ve imagined before.  Not fun, but doable.

When my time comes, I’ll face it as best I can. How well will I actually do?  Can’t say.  But I can tell you this –

It’ll be OK, for the Lord, my God is with me wherever I go.

When your trials come, try to relax. Be one with Jesus and the Father.  Open your heart to the Holy Spirit.  When you feel yourself slipping away from this earth and this body just remember –

It’s OK, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Homeward Bound

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.   Ephesians 6:12

I’ve seen some pretty spectacular places. I’ve driven through the heart of the Smoky Mountains and even took the Dragon’s Tail a couple times (Google it).  I grew up near Lake Erie and spent a fair amount of time in those waters.  I’ve driven through the beautiful desolation of west Texas and its panhandle.  My dad took my sister and I to watch a meteor shower with his astronomy club when we were young.

It’s a beautiful, natural world we live, considering that it’s lost something since the Fall of Adam and Eve. I can only imagine what it was before.  I can only imagine what awaits us!  If the Milky Way, the Alps, or the Grand Canyon takes your breath away, imagine how it will all look in a sinless, pristine state.

I had a friend who had a near death experience. His story was much like many other.  What he saw was so much more real than being here on earth!  Colors were brighter and music sweeter.

The world I see now has beauty, but things always get ruined by people. Control is a myth.  Governments and nation states are simply an accepted construct in our society.  Most places on earth have no such notions.  Europe and the USA are exceptions.  Are there any truly government controlled countries south of Texas?  Not when you consider the dangers of traveling across that border.

Afghanistan, Syria, and pick almost any “country” in Africa; they are more tribal than governmental.

Even in America government control is not what I was taught from an early age. Police are not necessarily your friends, the government is not necessarily here to help you, and our best chance of a happy life is, to quote a friend, fly above the weeds and below the radar insofar as getting noticed by the government goes.

Our true home awaits us. Earth has too much sin, too much fighting, too much disappointment.  We can barely deal with each other at times.  The spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places are too much for us. Just as in Daniel, God’s angels wage war all around us, doing their best to protect us.  This is, however, Satan’s place and time.  We all have a rough go here.

My heart is homeward bound. I no longer fear death.  I’ve been very close 3 times now; none were fun, but none were the horror I’ve imagined.  I know how my dear friend Dale Sheply died; his was a good leaving.  With so much danger and sin surrounding, prowling after us, I look forward to that time of transition from being alive to being ALIVE!

We’ll have the mansions Jesus left to prepare for us, and God Himself will be our light; no sun will be needed. Angels will sing, the saints will praise God, and we will walk in a new Earth.

In the meantime, I want to let others know that they can look forward to this too. I’d rather the people I know are there with me.  I’d want to see all of the smiling faces I know now be there smiling at me still.  So I try.  I try to set an example, I try to talk, I try to somehow let them all know there is a way to secure their future in that beautiful place with God.

My most earnest prayer is that we are all homeward bound!

Live Fearlessly!

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.    1 John 4:18 [Full Chapter]

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.    Luke 12:7

I recently found it necessary to verbally slap a friend upside her pretty, little head. You see, she’s living in fear.  Mind you, she’s done some very brave things, battled some very real demons, but she’s gone timid as of late, and, well, it has to do with relationships and age.  That’s where we all fall down, right?

We all get scared when it comes to putting ourselves out there, whether it’s looking for love or a job. Job interviews give us the cold sweats.  Finding ourselves in the vicinity of a cute guy or girls give us a case of the heminah-heminahs.

That’s not how God intends us to live! Paul’s letter to Philemon is about doing the right things in life, both as regards God and people:

Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.    Philemon 1:21

Confidence! That’s how we need to live; confidently, fearlessly!

Job interviews: do you realize you are in the driver’s seat? The person interviewing you gets paid to make a tough, very expensive decision in hiring someone.  But your perfect love can cast out fear!  You are there to help that person!  Be nice, be sympathetic, be helpful.  Don’t be fearful!  And remember you are interviewing them too!  You BOTH need to make a good decision.  If the interviewer isn’t your cup of tea, you might not want to work for him or her.  Taking the job, even if offered, might be a bad idea!

Perfect love casts out fear. Love the other person, recognize their situation, and be the job candidate God would want you to be – your very best self!

Relationships. Hoo boy!  Here we go.  Do you understand that most everyone is just as afraid and nervous as you?  Are you checking someone out?  Maybe they are checking you out too.  But both scared, little mice scurry along, too afraid to take a chance.

OK, you might make a fool of yourself. It can happen.  But you’ll never see that person again anyway, so who really cares?

They might be nice and still say no, and that’s OK.

They might say yes. From there, maybe things will work out, maybe not.

Example: MANY years ago I had a gym membership and swam a one mile workout in the lap pool. Adjacent to that was a hot tub.  So I’d do my mile and then relax in the tub.  Once evening a nice young lady was in there too.  We chatted.  No ring.  I asked her out.  Well, she was married.  The ring was off so she wouldn’t lose it.  I could’ve felt foolish, but why?  I apologized.  She said no need.  Before she left, she thanked me!  It was nice to know she was attractive!

Love casts out fear. I was nice.  She was nice.  We both won that evening.  She got a great compliment.  I got a no that would’ve been a yes if she was single.  We both went home feeling good.

Believe it or not, I did that one or two other times too. Did I feel foolish?  Aw, heck no!  It was kinda funny every time, and she always left feeling desirable.

Love doesn’t have to be romantic and sexy. Love can be as simple as being nice to people.  It can be as simple as, “Hey, I’m looking for someone, and you seem nice.  How about we spend some time?”  For all you know, they wish they had the courage to do that.

Live fearlessly, my friends! Above are merely two examples to get you to a bigger idea – have confidence.  If you don’t’ have it, act like it.  The mind tends to follow the body.  Feeling down?  Smile.  Keep smiling.  Your mood will improve.

In other words – Fake It Till You Make It! Go forward with God’s peace in you.  Act like He’s got your back, because He does.  If you stumble, He’ll  help you back up.  You will find more success than failure!

Broken In

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.   Psalm 119:105

That has a comfy sort of feel to it, doesn’t it? Think slippers.  Favorite baseball hat.  College sweatshirt.

I had that feeling this morning as I opened my poor, old…I mean broken in bible.  I had bought a smaller, newer one last year to travel with, because my long-time friend is getting pretty…broken in.

The print isn’t too small. It seems to just willingly open to where I want to go.  Psalm 119?  All I have to do is spot the right place to crack it open, and I’m pretty close.  The same with almost any other part of it.

Between my broken in bible, which dates back before 1980, and the verse above I have a picture in my mind of a traveler at night, walking through a forest with a hooded cape. He holds an old-style lantern in front of him by the looped handle on top.  There is darkness all around, but the lamp gives enough light to keep him from stumbling over anything in his path.  Together, they are a like a gliding snow globe, floating through the night.

The past is dark behind him as memories shift, alter; maybe even disappear. The future is even darker.  He can anticipate when he sees the path start to bend as the light feathers it into view.  He cannot know whether there is a fallen tree, a washout, or smooth track ahead, but continues in the light he has.

I’m getting broken in also. The bible verses come to mind easier than in previous years, even if I have trouble finding them in my paged friend.  God’s lessons, both Biblical and practical, continue to soften the rough edges, loosen the stiffness of habit and pride, making me more and more of what He had intended for me since Adam and Eve.  Whether I always like it or not.

Getting broken in works both ways when it comes to a good bible and its owner.

My Day Job

So, because he (Paul) was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.    Acts 18:3

Here I am, back on the road.  The New Year has officially started, and the travelling part ofhot-car my job has resumed.  That means less hours to write and keep up with my blog.  I certainly wish that I didn’t have to spend so much time on the road and could replace it with something more…important; like writing posts that try to help spread the Gospel, to contribute something, anything to that message.

Then I remembered that St. Paul was a tent-maker by trade. That was his day job, which allowed him his first pursuit, being a Pharisee, and later on his second calling, Apostle for Jesus.

I wonder how many times he might have resented having to make tents, if ever. His passion for the Gospel certainly should have had him chomping at the bit to be “All Jesus, All the Time!”

I certainly would like to be able to be “All Jesus, All the Time,” but one does need to make a living. Paul even used his vocation as an example to others in humility.  He made the point at least once that he could ask for their support with the authority of his apostleship, but he wanted no back door whispers.  He wanted others to never allow pride to interfere with their own lives and witness to the Gospel.

There were those who did serve as organizers of the gifts given to the early church on a full time basis and lived off the offerings given. Nothing wrong with that.  The Apostles themselves arranged that system.

But Paul wanted to give no on any reason to call his preaching into question. He wanted to set an example to those who might succumb to the temptation of laziness.

I’m also reminded of the curse of sin that became Adam’s lot from Genesis 3:

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. weeds18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread

I don’t have thistles, but I certainly have barriers and trials in my job, as do we all.

Clearly, I better not quit my day job. Partly, this is my share in Adam’s curse.  Clearly, my witness is worthless if I lazily mooch off others.  Plus, I’ve witnessed to plenty of people in my travels, whether restaurant workers, hotel staff, or a captive audience in the seat next to me on a flight.

With the right attitude, the right approach, our day job IS our Gospel job!

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.    John 14:2

I’m having trouble sleeping tonight. I often lay on the couch and drift off with a movie buzzing softly in the background.  Tonight I’m in my office on the computer watching YouTube videos.  I’ve come across Gordon Lightfoot videos; original recordings from the 70’s with collages of pictures and live performances as late as 2016.  He’s 78 now and still giving concerts.

Right now All the Lovely Ladies is playing, a bittersweet ballad. Earlier was Don Quixote, The House You Live In, and what is arguably his greatest song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The Fitz went down in a winter storm in Lake Superior in the 70’s. Lightfoot was a fan of the Great Lakes and sailing.  He wrote the ballad for the Fitz just for himself, really.  At six minutes, he knew it was too long to ever get radio play, but it was such a great song it forced its way onto the airwaves and into the culture.

I saw the Edmund Fitzgerald tour when he came to Toledo, OH. It was a very special night.  The Fitz’s captain was from Toledo, and his family were Lightfoot’s special guests that night.

You could hear the “wind in the wire make a tattletale sound” on the slide guitar and the drums breaking “waves over the railing.”

I see pictures of the powerful musician and balladeer from then and the slight man the years have made. I’m reminded of my own time of strength and the wear of four decades since.

I get this way sometimes; maudlin, teary, wishing I had one more shot at my prime, to do something better with it perhaps. I’m told it’s a common thing for bypass patients to come to easy tears.  Indulge me…it’s after midnight.  I’m feeling like the ol’ Fitz on the bottom of Lake Superior, split and unable to float.

What hope do I have now that I’m much closer to death than I was when Gordon mourned The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Toledo over 40 years ago?

Jesus. I know that when this body finally calls it quits, when the pump can no longer be repaired, and the surgeons can’t pull one last life-saving procedure out of the operating theatre…I will be young again.  I’ll be clothed with my perfect body and moving into the mansion Jesus promised to prepare for all of us.  Tonight’s tears of memory and regrets are turning to tears of hope and longing.

Someday in the ever closer future, there will be one more period of tears. Tears of joy!

If you’ve never really heard Gordon Lightfoot’s ballads, try the titles I mentioned at the top for starters.  If you’re wondering what you’re going to do when your body’s time ends, whether from age or accident, call out to Jesus.  He’s always around, listening for anyone who wants to talk.

And So It Begins…

Luke 1:3-4

It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

I’m taking vacation days to have all of Thanksgiving week off, as I have done so many years before. Formerly, the first part of the week was spent putting up the tree.  I always say we are in an uncontrolled free-fall toward Christmas and the year’s end after Thanksgiving.

We haven’t decorated for 6 years now. The last year in my home town there was no celebration for us.  We were preparing for our move to Memphis and hopefully a fresh start.  We went from 2100 sq. feet to about half that.

That’s been a blessing of sorts. I’ve had no stress putting everything up.  I’ve suffered no depression taking everything down.  There have been no gifts for at least as long.  We simply go to Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day services, have a nice brunch Christmas morning, and spend the rest of the day watching favorite movies and napping.  It’s all become very low key, very non-commercial.

My only problem right now is a lifetime of conditioning. I love Christmas music, especially as I gaze into the light-filled tree.  I miss our daughters and their anticipation.  I miss the traditions of my childhood.

The first Wednesday Advent service was the official beginning of that final countdown to Christmas Day. We never missed a Wednesday Advent service throughout my childhood.  Every week I felt more anticipation as another candle on the advent wreath was lit.

In my twenties, my best pal, Rick, and I would spend Christmas Eve attending as many Christmas Eve services as we could get to, ending with a mid-night service that bridged us over midnight to the big day itself! Later that day, I’d go over to his house, pretty much my second home and family, to celebrate a bit with them too.

Now it’s more about surviving the commercialization of the whole thing and the ever-increasing rudeness of people during this season of gifts. Work continues to intrude upon my private life.  I’ve spent more time in hotels than my own bed this year.

I have no time for the still-available Advent services. I have no time to hold to some of the traditions and feelings of my childhood.  Even if I did, my family doesn’t feel quite the same anymore.  Julie is understandably tired, plus works retail.  One daughter is still with us, but her health problems keep her lying low too.

My youngest is still in Ohio. She informed us several years ago that she doesn’t believe in all this shit anymore and is an atheist.  Now she swears she said she’s agnostic.  Two names for two roads going to the same destination, but whatever helps you sleep at night.

I’d like to travel the road of my youth as well as the road of our early marriage. We were all pulling on the oars to the same beat, heading in the same direction.  Now, who is or is not working?  Who is or is not too tired?  Who does or does not have room to put up even small decorations?  Maybe I’d like a little bit.  Just some sort of nod to my memories, something to soothe them.

Here’s the part where I remind myself to stop circling the drain of my naval, which I’ve figuratively contemplated long enough. Here’s where I get back to what God has to say about all of this.  Here’s where I remind myself that I’m allowing the psychotic-like aspects of the season to wreak its havoc between my ears.

Every Gospel has its purpose, it’s intended message of the Gospel framed in its individual way. Luke starts out all about Jesus’ birth with all of the close calls and nefarious schemes of a holiday blockbuster.  Luke knows Jesus’ entire story, from Alpha to Omega.  He knows getting this part as well as the rest is important.

Should we have started celebrating said birth at all, let alone on a pagan holiday, even if it was the best of intentions? Dunno.  I’m thinking God is just as glad we say thank you, regardless of our timing.  It might be nice to do it daily, come to think of it.

Is Christmas music OK? I guess that would depend on the song.

Maybe I’ll just contemplate the story all by itself. One blog post at a time.

The Sixth Man

Psalm 54:2

Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth

I went to a Lutheran grade school, K-8. My eighth grade year was a high point for us guys.  The seventh and eighth grade boys basketball team was a powerhouse in our league.  We had Mark Lyon, Mark Bonnough, Chuckie, Dickie, & Eric in the starting lineup.  They were fast, read each other well, and could shoot.  Boy, could they shoot!  I remember the Friday night that we were scheduled to play for the league championship!

Friday night basketball was a huge deal at Trinity. There were several games starting with fifth and sixth grade boys, then girls.  Then the seventh and eighth girls, leading up to the seventh and eighth grade boys; a.k.a The Main Event.

We were nowhere near confident that we’d collect the coveted trophy. The team we had to beat that last night had pretty well gone to town on us earlier in the season.  We had no real expectation of doing any better.  We knew we didn’t have the talent or whatever else they had to beat them.

All of us spent the hours of the three games before ours in prayer. The school gym was on one end of that long building, the sanctuary on the other.  We went there as we felt moved to, praying in the dark, passing each other in that long hallway in between.  We prayed for strength and skill to win the trophy, because we knew these guys were poised grind us up on our own court.

We prayed off and on hour after hour. When it was finally time to hit the locker room and dress, we were determined to give it our very best shot and let God decide the outcome.

Somehow, some way, we tore them apart that night. Even I made it off the bench and scored a three point play.  The crowd went wild, as the saying goes.  At the final buzzer we were drunk with amazement at what had just happened.

Back in the locker room we were jumping and shouting, delirious with joy. We raised three cheers for God in acknowledgement of the miracle we had just been given.

That was too many decades ago, but I remember it clearly; the multiple pilgrimages to the dark, silent church, hours of repeating our simple earnest prayer for a victory, and the solemn nods in the hallway as we quietly commended each other for continuing the prayers. It was something that just happened.  No plans, no “I’ve got an idea,” nothing.  Just a bunch of kids who took God seriously and weren’t afraid to ask for a win in a small league, in a small gym, at a small school.

I know God gave us that win. And I don’t think the win was the point from where God sat that night.  Sure, He was our sixth man on the floor with us that night, but He had bigger things in mind.  It was a teaching moment.

I haven’t seen either Mark for at least 10-15 years. I saw Eric about ten years ago.  I don’t think I ever saw Dickie or Chuckie after we all graduated.  But the Marks, Eric, and I still hold that night in the same awe we had as kids.  It never should have happened, but it did.

We prayed innocently for a great desire. We prayed in unity.  We prayed persistently.  At the end, we learned the power of prayer.

Did God enjoy saying “Yes” that night? I know He did.  What Father doesn’t get a kick out of giving a child of His a nice surprise?  Did God teach us something that would last our lifetimes?  Certainly!

Life is more than a basketball trophy that is now lost somewhere, gathering dust if not broken. God is our Sixth Man in every part of our lives.  All He asks is that we pass Him the ball when He’s open and we’re covered.  That’s it.  Don’t pray once and call it a night.  Don’t pray against someone.  Pray in unity.  Accept His answers, and praise Him for taking the court with you.

After that…nothing but net!