During one of my prayer times at the Alleluia School of Spiritual Direction, I asked the Lord for a stronger ‘yes’ to my own existence. I prayed and read some assigned scriptures to put myself in the right frame of mind. The scriptures made me chuckle a little bit.
The first scripture was the prayer of Jabez from the book of 1 Chronicles. “Oh Lord, that You might truly bless me and widen my tent pegs….” God has me working on nearly doubling the size of my tent (house). It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely paying off.
The second scripture was Ephesians 4:10, “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we might live in them.” Again, my housing project came to mind. I knew that I needed to add on to the house when I bought it. God planned it in advance. And it was a good work that I would end up living in.
I could see the scriptures coming to life in a very personal if humorous way, but I couldn’t figure out what they might have to do with the grace that I was supposed to be asking Jesus to give me. I prayed, “Jesus, what do these scriptures have to do with a stronger yes to my existence?”
An image came to mind from an 80’s movie where the main character pumped his fist and said, “YESSSS.” Not simply a yes of affirmation, but a yes of celebration. Rejoicing in something awesome.
Existence is awesome. It’s also something that I tend to take for granted. The fact that I exist is not a given. In the grand scheme of things, it is altogether unlikely that I would ever exist. The odds against it are astounding. And yet I do exist because God created me to love Him and be loved by Him. YESSSS!
I imagine Jesus pumping His fist and saying, “Yesss!” at the moment of my conversion. I imagine Him doing it again when I cooperate with some grace or call that He puts into my life. I want to join Him in that “Yess!”
When He answers some cherished prayer, like my desire for a bigger bedroom… Yesss!
When He gives me a trial to help me grow in virtue… Yesss!
When I shoot myself with a nail gun… Yesss!
When He reveals His plan… Yesss!
When my van breaks down… Yesss!
When He meets me in the prayer of quiet… Yessss!
When He gives me opportunities to love and serve… Yessss!
The Crowd Goes Wild!
Another image came to mind that filled me with great joy: a scene of a game-winning slam dunk. I’m a child of the 80’s and 90’s, so think Michael Jordan crushing the ball into the basket at the last minute to win the game. YESSSS! The crowd goes berserk.
The image of a shepherd coming home with a sheep on his shoulders and the celebration that ensues never resonated very strongly. I don’t know any shepherds. I’ve never lost a sheep. The glory of this moment was kind of lost on me.
But this one got me.
I imagined the moment when I was standing on the top of 13-story building about to jump off as the final seconds of a basketball game that the devil was about to win. But Jesus stole the ball and started racing across the court. I walked down the stairs instead of taking a final leap. The great crowd of witnesses jumped to their feet.
The seconds ticked away… 3, 2, 1. Jesus leapt through the air and power dunked the ball, shattering the backboard. Glass showered down on him as his feet hit the court. My conversion in the middle of the night changed the trajectory of my life forever. The crowd lost their minds. Jumping up and down, laughing and crying, they rejoiced together. The archangels poured a cooler of Gatorade over God the Father’s head. The celebration lasted until late in the night.
More than I asked for.
God is so generous. When I ask, I receive. And so often, I get way more than I expected.
Not only did God give me greater yes to my own existence, He gave me a greater yes to everyone’s existence. The reality struck me that even the most wretched sinner has the potential to become a game winning slam dunk in the hands of Jesus.
The question I now face is: am I on the team? How am I playing on the court? It’s exciting to think about playing in a championship game, but when I’m walking through the grocery store with three or four or five kids in tow, do I have my game face on?
Because that’s where this game is played… in the everyday interactions that I have with the people around me. A smile to someone who’s having a hard day could be a rebound from a shot that the devil just took. Restricting social media for my kids could be playing zone defense. Am I always aware of the fact that the ball is in play?
The big yes that God wants from me is the yes to the call to mission. He has a plan for every person on this planet, but some of them don’t know Him yet. He’s wants me to hit the court and get in the game.
Jesus snatched me out of the darkness and saved me from complete madness. If you want to hear more of that story, check out Demoniac, now available on Amazon.