I hope love and joy find you as we draw near to Valentine’s Day! Today, I share a memory of love sure to bring a smile, and maybe, just maybe, a bright ball of hope!
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
Psalm 39:7 – NIV
The bright red ball was so large that it nearly obscured his face. Only his bright eyes peeked out from behind that shiny round toy. Like most boys, my son Jonathan loved all things round and bouncy.
It was a perfect day for a picnic. Spring had arrived in the Carolinas, the sun sparkling against a brilliant blue sky. My arms were laden with two lawn chairs intended to enhance our driveway dining experience. The fare of the day was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a delicacy sure to delight my three year old son. I grinned as I heard him call, “Come on Mama! Let’s play Catch!”
“Just a minute!” I responded. “Let me put these down first!”
Depositing the chairs, I moved down the driveway toward his tiny frame. He couldn’t wait one more moment. “Here it comes, Mama! Catch it!”
With a grunt and a thrust of his little arms, he threw the cherry red ball into the air. Like the glow of the sun against that Carolina blue sky, the bright red ball sailed high overhead. Arms outstretched, I dashed forward, just in time to grab the ball before it hit the ground. The tickled wide grin on his cherub face mirrored my own as I heard him squeal, “Yay! You did it, Mama!”
It’s a precious memory of a precious little boy. In truth, that game of catch was not so easy, particularly when one of the players was saddled with significant visual field loss. Those round and bouncy balls were easy for me to miss. Sometimes they flew through the air into my waiting arms, and other times, they hit me instead. Still, Jonathan and I kept trying, finally settling on the cherry red ball. With its large circumference and bold color, it was much easier for me to spot. Practice makes perfect, and my little three year old was all too eager to play the game again and again and again.
All these years later, that bright red ball reminds me of hope. God eagerly holds that bright ball of hope in His hands, just waiting for us to look up and reach out to receive it. He won’t toss it to us until we are ready. We have to make the effort. We must stretch out our arms in faith, believing that He will follow through.
When our eyes are turned upward, our hearts open to receive the toss, God thrusts His gift of hope toward us. He calls to us if we have ears to hear. “Here it is. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be dismayed. Receive my hope!” Perhaps He even adds, “Catch it!”
Hope is freely offered. Hope can be fully received, but I cannot take hold when my arms are laden with worldly worries. When my shoulders sag under the weight of my burdens, my eyes will be downcast, focused on my troubled circumstances. I will miss that ball of hope as it soars across the sky.
If I want to grasp hope, I must lay down my burdens at the feet of my Lord. I must offer up my concerns and open my hands in trust, knowing that God is more than capable of bringing good out of the hard things of life. Opening my hands and eyes wide, keeping my gaze firmly fixed on Jesus, I can find hope, sailing through the air like the bright red ball. With a grin of joy, I can reach out and grab it, clutching it close to my heart.
Friends, our God is a God of mercy and of hope. His arms are always extended, just waiting for us to look to Him, to call His Name, to reach out in trust. When we release the burdens and distractions of this earthly life, opening our hearts and hands in trust, He will be there, ready and waiting to toss us a hope that will not bounce away. Isn’t it time that you and I get focused and reach out?
Like that sweet little boy on a spring afternoon, God is calling. He’s calling out to you and to me. ‘Here it comes! Catch it!”
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Hebrews 10:23 – NLT
O God of Hope, look down upon us, toss us Your gift of hope. In this time of despair and uncertainty, we need Your hope. May we shed our earthly distractions, and fix our eyes on You. May we lay our burdens at Your feet and open our arms in trust. Let us catch Your hope and cling to it, for You are faithful to keep Your promises.
In the Loving Name of Jesus, we pray,