Monday, October 18, 2010

Hey, God! Wanna play some ball?

I've never experienced signs and wonders.  Don't get me wrong, I've seen evidence of God working in my life, felt peace that passes understanding, witnessed love that pulses through a community of believers.  But no visions.  No voices.  No dreams or premonitions.  Until now.

About a month ago, I started praying that God would reveal a piece of His provision by November 1st.  A sending church, a departure date, something specific to affirm this path I'm traveling.  A month ago, it was an easy prayer.  Plenty of time for my big God to do big things.  Now my palms are starting to sweat.  Is God going to hold up His end of this deal I tossed before Him?  What if He doesn't?  What then?  Do I renegotiate?  Do I add more time?  Do I remain committed? 

These were among the multitude of questions and doubts muddying my thoughts Friday night.  I was with Missions Resource Network at World Mission Workshop in rural Arkansas, trying to listen to the evening's keynote speaker.  Finally, I bowed my head in surrender to the battle raging within.  I tried to focus the chaos into some sort of coherent prayer, a desperate plea for Dublin, Provision, and November 1st.

A thought entered.  The Rangers are playing the Yankees tonight.  Another attempt to focus on prayer.  God, are you listening?  Give me a sign.  Let the Rangers win.  My audacity is laughable.  Numbers start flying into my head.  Four to one, no, three to one, five to three, no, seven to two.  Yeah, God, seven to two.  Let the Rangers beat the Yankees seven to two.  What?  Now I'm negotiating playoff scores with my Creator?  I shake it off and move on.

We didn't have cell reception at Camp Tahkodah, so after the keynote, we jump in the van and head for Sonic.  Someone pulls out a phone.  Rangers are up five to nothing, top of the 7th inning!  Hey, maybe God's gonna play along with my ridiculous proposal.  Fifteen minutes later, the Yankees come back, now they're up six to five.  Guess God doesn't want to play ball.  That's what I figured.

Saturday.  The workshop's winding down.  We load up and hit the road.  Phones come out.  Game Two, 6th inning, Rangers-seven, Yankees-two.  Excuse me?!?  What was that score again?  Seven to two?  Sure enough.  A sudden rush of excitement sends a shiver down my spine.  But the game's not over yet, there's still plenty of baseball to be played.  Chill out.

We stop to eat.  The game goes on, innings pass... Top of the 9th.  Three more outs.  One.  Is this for real?  Two.  Seriously, God, are you messing with me?  Three.  Seven to two!  What just happened?!?!?!?!  My thoughts are frozen.  My mind is completely blown.

My first reaction?  Coincidence.  OK, God, that was cool and all, but could you do it one more time?  Just so I can be sure.  Can we test the fleece one more time?  But I can't dismiss this so easily.  There are two things I know:  One... God played along on His time, not mine.  The score was dead-on, the night was all wrong.  He made me wait.  Two... my request was bold, specific, and totally absurd.  Still, God heard it, responded, and now I pray for November 1st with a spirit of renewed confidence.  Let's play ball!

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