Sunday, July 17, 2011

Penalty Kicks and Lawrence Welk...!

Well, it was a nail-biter, as they say, wasn't it?

My daughter, an avid soccer fan, husband and I watched the World Cup after church today. It certainly appeared that the U.S. dominated the game from the start.

I even left the room after the first goal only to hear, "Oooooh, no!"

After the overtime, the now-dreaded penalty kicks were going to determine the winner of this important game.

I thought how like life this is. I know lots of analogies to sports are made with life lessons, but today certainly struck me fresh as I watched the views of amazing team work and effort throughout the game.

In life, we depend upon our connections: parents, siblings, friends, spouses, neighbors, children, co-workers.

These connections appear to get us through life's ups and downs: cancer, divorce, death, marriages, graduations, jobs, successes, failures.

In the end though, it all comes down to the penalty kick though, doesn't it?

I read today about a woman in St. Louis who turned 105. 105! Think about that! She saw the arch being built. Her dad never drove a car, only the horse and buggy.

She worked the same job until she was in her 70's. I looked at her picture, and I admit, she looked GREAT! She only uses a walker to steady herself a bit, and takes NO prescription medications. She said she felt she cheated the doctors because no doctor could get rich off of her.

Then the one little line in that article caught my attention. She has outlived almost all of her family members, including her children. She only has one distant cousln left who is 65.

She is at the penalty kick, isn't she? Today, I am missing my folks. After the soccer game ended, I channel surfed. (At 99 degrees, I just wasn't in the mood to journey outside.) There on the screen was the ol Lawrence Welk show.

I hesistated and selected it. There in some weird shade of peach-color outfits, dancers and singers performed cheesy choreography while taking popular tunes of the times and trying to fit them into the big-band style of Welk: The Beat Goes on, Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ol' Oak Tree, Yellow Bird Up High in Banana Tree, Blue Spanish Eyes....

I was back in 1973 watching the show struggle to modernize with pop culture. I also remembered my folks watched this show every Saturday afternoon.

...And then I remembered how they "had my back" all those years. I relied on their advice, their prayers, their love. They were my anchor. They were the team members I could always rely on as I struggled toward my goals.

Then they were gone. Like the 105 birthday lady, I realize it is really just me and the penalty kick all along.

It is always great to have loved ones around. I know that. I crave that.

On the other hand, relying on others to face down my fears, sins, and battles in being the kind of person God wants me to be isn't what God wants.

He says, "My grace is sufficient for you."

He wants us to rely on Him.

You see, God already won the game long ago.

-When He let Jesus die on the cross.

Satan lost.

God won.

Whether 15 or 105, we don't face the penalty kicks alone.

Satan may stand at the gate trying to block our joy, our love, our relationship with God, but he has lost.

Satan doesn't even see it coming either.

The soccer game was a sad ending for years of hard work for the U.S.

It will be remembered for a lot of things, and especially for penalty kicks.

Let's join with God in thanking Him for being with us in life's penalty kicks, when it is really just between you and the world as you battle for God.

For His Glory,

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