“This is absurd…”
He says it weakly.
Almost like a whisper, almost all to himself.
He sighs, and shrugs, then shakes his head.
”How can someone with my kinda past, and my sorta losses…?” he stops his sentence midway, looking down.
I know his question — how can someone who’s mucked it bad in life, make it back for life?
How can we — who’ve made mistakes, lived failures, suffered hardships, undergone fires — still somewhat hope to make a win, score a game…?
We all want to know.
Desperately needing to know if second chances do exist.
“It’s just mathematical, isn’t it?… this love of God? He favours some good ol’ pretty souls maybe? Those with no wrongs? And if this thin’ is a formula, I ain’t gonna equate to it…” My friend continues.
Yeah, it’s hard to face up to it:
But when our lives are lacerated with losses, living laced up in love feels a bit absurd.
When our soul suffers sadness, enjoying God’s goodness seems a brass contradiction.
And to the heart hurting with regrets we ourselves might have caused? — our inner critique comes chiding in with its famous repeat: “you really aren’t that good, you really aren’t that changed…”.
The verdict usually comes harsh:
Your string of failures — make you the failure.
Your losses in life — make you a loser for life.
That’s the lie we often believe.
The lie we often disqualify ourselves with.
And instead of rejecting our rejections, we renounce the notion that God loves us.
We dispel the attributes that make God truly God — unconditional and unequivocal in His love, His mercy and His grace towards His people.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
And so we take ourselves out the realm of His love, we seize matters into our own hands and conclude our own story of sad.
We believe that we’ve dropped the ball, soured the friendship, broken the trust, burst the respect, busted the heart, bankrupted the business — and there’s no saving it, there’s no getting back into it.
But this is the truth:
God is faithful, even when we are not.
“You mean to say that God can turn things around for me…?” my friend looks up, almost hopeful, mostly doubtful.
For the times we feel out of the league, and out of everything good and going for us, I tell us —
That we need no longer stand at the periphery looking in, but bounce right back into the game of life, into His court of love.
That we can reject our rejections, and subscribe to the symphony of songs instead.
Songs of love written not in ink, but demonstrated in death, while we the recipients are dormant and still worthless
This is the love that sacrificed the Sinless for the sinful, so we can one day stand sacredly justified, so that our weaknesses and mistakes need not form our final score.
Christ is the game changer, and in Him we can rebound out of the snares of life into the swing of grace.
I’ve not forgotten the preacher’s sermon, and the family’s weekly drill for the past ten years, and how I came to understand my own loss.
He’s said it — “…basketball isn’t just a mere analogy to life, it has principles with spiritual applications that can change our lives…“.
And the Husband would tell me that this is true, that there is a place in the game of ball for all our missed shots and a place in the game of life for all our missed steps: the rebounding position!
And here on the court, our 3 steps towards the perfect rebound and grab our ball back off the rim:
Rebound Position One: Keep Your Knees Low To The Ground
Keep your knees bended and low to the ground, so you can jump up agile in the right position when the opportunity strikes,
Because getting back into whatever you’ve fallen out of always involves being right down on your knees, honest before man, and true towards God.
Prayer positions you for power, promotes you into possibilities, and permeates you with perspectives.
Rebound Position Two: Keep Your Hands Up In The Air
Spread your arms, keep them up and open so you can have the widest coverage on the court to block opposing players and catch the ball.
Because it’s when you keep your praises up that prison doors open, valleys peak, and mountains level, and the sink become an altar, and the cubicle, your podium.
Praises are preparatory to the monumental milestones of maturity.
Rebound Position Three: Block The Opposition and Box The Opponent.
Use your hands and feet, spread your legs wide and make your body bigger, because this is how you keep others from getting between you and the ball.
When the enemy roars and you’ve got to put on a fight, remember:
He can turn things around and transforms lives inward out. He is able!
Beyond our greatest failure and our grimiest sin, He who left Heaven to walk our ground and die our deaths,
To this God who sacrificed Himself so we can stand sacredly justified —
There is forgiveness to redeem us out of futility into fruitfulness.
He who loves us through losing His own life for us —
He wraps us in arms that will never let go, let down, break up or break down —
He who keeps the globe from spinning off its axis for us,
He will hold our world when everything else falls apart in this world.
To this God —
Relentless in love, inexplicable in wisdom, irrational in mercy, unfathomable in grace —
He makes victims victors and losers winners.
He loves lavishly, illogically, irrationally, incalculably…
So we can praise till our day brims, pray till our heart glows, fight with our smiles spread.
Because he really is no loser who fails, then falls, into the forever loving arms of the faithful God.