What we think we need is not always what we really need.
I am learning that there are two kinds of people in the world. There are “Baseball” people and “Not Baseball” people. We are definitely “Baseball” people. My wife loves the game. I love the game. My son, really loves the game. My daughter, barely tolerates the game.
Last summer my son was having one of his best years at the plate that he had ever had. He discovered the ability to hit with power and for average. His hard work in the off-season was paying off.
During a tournament where there was an opportunity to make an All Star team he began to struggle. Boy, did he struggle. Against one of the top teams in the tournament he had a great game. But, other than that, he didn’t do very much. Half way through the week he asked me what he was doing wrong.
We showed up early to the batting cages and we got video of his swing. It was beautiful. What we could see on the surface looked good. But why was he in a lull?
There was something deeper going on.
In the gospel of Mark there’s a story about Jesus healing a paralytic. Check it out:
And when he [Jesus] returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he said to the paralytic — “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
There is a lot going on in this story. I want you to focus on Jesus’ response to the paralytic man. When he is lowered in front of him, what does he say? “You’re healed! Get up and walk!” No. He says, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
The paralytic had a physical problem. He couldn’t walk. His friends knew that Jesus could heal him. But, the man’s real issue was that he needed to receive grace and mercy and be reconciled to God. This was the root issue. It’s as if Jesus was saying, “Go deeper! No DEEPER! Let’s get down to the root of you brokenness.” Physical brokenness is a symptom of the fall of creation. So, ultimately to fix the problem Jesus dealt with the root issue, sin.
Over and over again I find in my life that I get focused on the symptoms. I have heartburn, so I take medicine, it handles the symptoms. The real problem is that I’m overweight. When I’m exercising, eating well, and losing weight the heartburn “magically” disappears. The other night I didn’t sleep, in the moment I thought it was because of the wind. It wasn’t. It was because I didn’t trust God to care for my family or home or me.
How about you? What symptoms are there in your life that you are trying to deal with? What might the root problem be?
After a little while in the batting cage, I finally figured out what was going on with my son. It wasn’t his swing. It was his head. He wasn’t having fun. He was trying too hard. I noticed he wasn’t laughing and joking around.
So, I made him play a game with me. When we first started playing he was not happy. He wanted to “work on his game.” I knew he needed to just “play his game.” I got him laughing and smiling. He loosened up and started smacking the cover off the ball in the cage.
As we walked to the field I said, “Son, remember that joy and that feeling of just having fun in the cage when you step up to the plate today. Relax and enjoy the moment.”
From that moment on, the “lull” ended.
What we think we need, is not always what we really need.