I have written many times about the countless lessons I have learned over the last six years in the battle we are winning with the attack on my wife’s health. Another lesson I have learned may have nothing to do with Piper’s health… although it has helped me to unwind and cope with the stress that comes with the fight. That lesson is that I really enjoy the game of baseball! Upon our return from Oklahoma I was impressed with my older son’s excitement and zeal for what is often called “America’s Favorite Pastime!”
I was raised by a father that loved the game and fondly remember many weekends helping my Dad work in the backyard listening to the transistor radio sitting on the fence that was broadcasting the San Francisco Giants games. You think that with all that exposure to the game that I would have continued the tradition when I moved out. But alas, I got caught by the football craze and found myself enjoying the University of California at Berkeley football games on the radio and NFL games on TV as I puttered around the house with our young family each weekend.
Josh’s enthusiasm must have roused those old childhood memories in me though! In 2010 I got caught up with the Giants World Series run and I’ve been an ardent fan ever since! After moving to North Carolina I added the MLB package to our satellite programming and have been able to watch any game going on in the league… and it had been great!
One thing I have noticed is that the Giants ownership and management team seemed to have nailed it when it comes to knowing what it takes to please the fans. As I watch their games played on the road as well as games played by other teams around the league, I almost always comment to my wife about how empty the other stadiums are when compared to Giants games at AT&T Park on the bay in San Francisco. Yesterday the Dodger’s announcer commented on the same phenomenon and mentioned that last night’s game marked well over 300 consecutive sold out home games! The Giant’s fans have been filling that stadium even in their losing seasons.
When my son and I attended a game at the AT&T Stadium back in 2013, you could feel the electricity in the air. And even though it seemed like we were miles away from the action sitting in the top section along the third base line, we still felt like we were an intimate part of the festivities! It also seems to come through the TV when you watch their games.
Last night’s game was one of the few times when the MLB TV package did not offer the Giants broadcast of the game, so we had to watch the Dodgers broadcast team’s presentation of the program. Maybe I am a bit prejudice, but even though their well-known and popular announcer Vin Scully was good and very informative, he did not draw the listener (at least not me…) into a feeling of oneness with the events happening on the field and in the stadium. When I watch the Giants longtime broadcast team of Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, I can’t help but be drawn into the action, feel like a member of the Giants team and laugh at their banter and the fun they have during the games!
That’s kind of the same feeling I get when I keep reading and re-reading from Luke 24:32 where the two disciples of Jesus talk about their experience with Him on the road to Emmaus. They were so excited about their recent time with Jesus that they can hardly contain themselves as they comment: “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us by the way and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (MKJV) The Greek word translated “opened” says it all… It is defined by Thayer’s as “to open one’s soul, ie; to rouse in one the faculty of understanding or the desire of learning.” Dictionary.com describes “rouse” as “to bring out of a state of sleep, inactivity, fancied security or depression. A signal for reveille – which is a signal to arise (like from a drum or bugle)”
When Jesus spoke and opened up the Word, He aroused in those around Him a passion or burning desire to go out and do His will! He forever changed the lives of those two men who were ready to throw in the towel as they walked away from all the action in Jerusalem. Over the past six years my wife and I have first-hand experience with both sides of those two men’s experience. We have been thoroughly blessed, built up and excited over the potential of our God by individuals burning with a passion for Papa God, and on the other hand, have felt the depression and abundance of hopelessness in the voices and faces of those who just don’t seem to get it!
I clearly remember trying my best to look sympathetic and understanding as one couple came over to our house back in 2009 and proceeded to tell us of their and other family member’s fears caused by things they couldn’t do to help us. I recall thinking “Gee, this is really encouraging…” At a time when I was feeling very vulnerable, emotionally beat up and straining to reach out to Papa God and gain the needed strength required for the long road we faced, their words did little to help!
Then there are those like a neighbor we met as we drove into the garage the other day who came up to us expressing his appreciation for a hot car. Following introductions he bent down next to Piper, talked gently with her and then began to pray for her in his native Nairobi language. Now let me say, I am REALLY particular who I let lay hands on my wife, but this young man’s sincerity and personal intimacy with our Savior was VERY evident. Piper immediately opened her eyes and watched and smiled the whole time. Let me tell you folks… That was encouraging! That was the kind of positive faith that we needed! Yesterday we met again and will be arranging a time for him to come over and pray with us at our home.
I think as Born-Again members of Christ’s family, we carry that same gene of encouragement as Jesus does, don’t you? Therefore it should only be natural for us to reach out to those in needy situations with word and actions of faith and not spreading fear and bad vibes! I would like to think that whenever a Christian leaves our presence that we should feel the electricity in the air, like that at a San Francisco Giants game. Just like we felt for the rest of the day after experiencing a few moments with a man who knows His God! I can tell you without any hesitation… at the end of that day, we were both charged with the expectation of God’s best!
So have a great day today! Reach out and charge someone’s day with the glorious power and presence of Him and His Word… and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to pass on to someone else today?”