This past week as I dropped off some trash at the recycling center, I struck up a conversation with the attendant. After asking how he was doing, he shared that he and his family were ok … but he sure missed his sports!
Sports, at times, help us to understand more about life. The phrase, “Keep your eye on the ball,” is a good example. If you keep your eye on the ball, so the saying goes, you are focusing on what’s important. This is true in golf, baseball, football, lacrosse, or basketball.
“Keeping your eye on the ball” in life means to focus your attention on what is important without allowing yourself to be distracted or to look away. Jesus’ disciples learned this lesson, not in a game, but in real life.
In Matthew’s Gospel (chapter 28), Jesus gives commission to the disciples and concludes: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” It is important to remain faithful – not losing sight of Jesus – during difficult times. What do you do when God seems distant? How to you live through those tough, dark days?
First, get real. Don’t hide what you’re going through. Be honest with God in prayer. Tell it straight to him. Allow God’s Spirit to help you discern whether your faith is being tested, or if there something you need to change. Also, engage in faith conversations with trusted people in your life. God provides the gift of relationship and community for support.
Second, when God feels distant, dare to believe and follow in faith. Dare to trust in God’s promise to be with you always – dare to trust beyond your feelings. Stay grounded daily in God’s Word. Dwell in the Word. How does it speak to you or help you to feel God’s nudge. And as Jesus reminds us to stay connected through faith.
Finally, when God doesn’t feel near, praise him still. We worship God because he is worthy of our praise, not just because we feel like it. God loves you. He has promised to be with you.
Many of us are missing much from our pre-pandemic routines. Though some things aren’t around like they used to be, God is. If a sports metaphor helps, then as in sports, so in faith: Keep your eye on the ball! Stay focused and Spiritually connected with your faith in Christ, who says: “Remember, I am with you always.”