Monday, February 06, 2017

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Overtime

We started getting peppered with, ‘Are we at the point of no-return yet?’  during the first half of the game last night.

It’s still too early to tell…

One touchdown after another…prospects looked pretty bleak.

What about now? Are we now at the point of no return?

Wanting to know the end before the actual ending runs in our family.

We fended off the question with the sagely wisdom of,

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, scooping the home-made guacamole with spicy nacho Doritos, but I admit I had my doubts.

Yes, come backs happen. 

But so do the decimations. 

We’ve seen a few of both with our own eyes and there was no telling what would happen with this game. Will there be an upset? Or, depending on the side you root for, a steady humiliation that ends in defeat or smooth sailing that ends in well-deserved victory?

By the time the half-time show rolled around, I thought Lady Gaga was going to be the talk of the Super bowl 2017.  And the cool drones.

We sent our kids to bed shortly after the second half started, both of them firmly convinced that the outcome had already been decided. That there was not much game left worthy of staying up to watch.

The rest is history.  In fact, a lot of history’s first were made last night. Not being a football buff, I can only name one or two.

The one that struck me the most was the first Super Bowl ever that had gone into overtime.

Sometimes life feels like that. We feel that we've reached 'the point of no return', and that the winners and the losers have already been decided before the end of the first half. Not much game left worthy to stick around for.  

Our best and highest hope is that there will be plenty of tasty snacks to keep us munching away until bedtime.

But, life has a way of upsetting our bowl, of serving us surprises. 

Sometimes (in fact, more often than in Super Bowl)  it actually extends into overtime! 

The clock is up, but the game is not over.

It’s the final stretch, the final seconds that decide. Those can change everything.

This is good news, really good news for the apparent losers.

There is hope!

This is also an unnerving piece of additional information for those of us who think we've already got the victory in our back pocket.

I suppose, that’s what makes life interesting to the very end. And how the history is made along the way.

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Lost and Found

This week, on Monday, I lost a hat.

On Tuesday, I lost a bike lock and another hat.

On Wednesday, which is today, I managed to lose my credit card.

I am not joking.

Some may argue,  perhaps justifiably so, that I am losing my mind.

The good news is…

On Monday, which happened to be the coldest day of the year so far, after backtracking a mile and a half on my bike, adding three extra miles to my 8-mile itinerary, I found my lost hat.

On Tuesday, the second coldest day of the year, I found the ‘other hat’ which blew off my head into a busy street, just few hundred yards behind me.  It was ran over by several rushing cars before I was able to rescue it. Except for a few scuff marks, no permanent damage. 

As for the bike lock, I had to ride all the way back home looking for it. I admit, there was some negotiation going on inside my head between me and God - being omniscient, clearly He knew exactly where the lock was.  I scoured every inch of the 4-mile path but didn't see it anywhere. Gravely disappointed and a bit miffed, I made it to our driveway. The disappointment and the miff turned into happiness the moment I saw the lock, basking in the cool winter sun, in the same place where it fell off the bike right before I left home.

Today, while standing in the checkout line at Wal-mart, I discovered that my credit card wasn’t where it should be inside my wallet. I froze in place, even though the weather outside was rather warm. Then, I mentally backtracked my steps all the way to Ross department store where earlier in the day, I used it in the process of returning an item I'd purchased almost a month ago.

I clearly remembered forgetting to remove my card out of the credit card machine.

To drive back to Ross, I spent twice as much gas than the total cost of the returned item - not to mention the time and the stress! All this in 'hope against hope' that the card would be in the possession of an honest Ross’ employee rather than some lucky crook who could be thanking God this very moment for His generous provision of a free $10,000 credit limit at my expense.

The Loss Prevention person greeted me warmly, and after I explained why I was there again, he  asked me for my name, walked over to the Customer Service desk, verified the name on the card and handed it to me.

To describe what I felt at that moment as 'relief' would be the understatement of the year.

Every day this week, I’ve spend extra time, energy and money to retrieve my lost belongings. Even though their monetary value was negligible, I went through all the trouble, in the cold weather, riding against the wind on a bicycle, looking for them until I found them. 

Crazy, isn't it?

Then it struck me.

If these lost objects made of wool, metal and plastic were valuable enough to me to go through all the trouble of finding them, how much more are we - body, soul and spirit - worth God's 'trouble' so we can be found?

It’s so easy to get lost, to feel lost - a small, insignificant person in a large, big-issues world of refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, Presidential orders, Supreme Court appointees. 

A tiny, disposable, replaceable cog in a greater machine with the mission to save the world...

It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others more important, more successful, more 'this' or 'that' than us and doubt whether anyone notices... whether anyone cares...

... that we are lonely...
... that we feel forgotten...

... that we are drifting away like a wind-blown hat off somebody’s head...

Perhaps all this is so easy because it is so hard to really believe that we are worth the bother...

...worth the effort...

 - by God and by man -

... that it takes to be found again. 

If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? Romans 8:32