He should have seen it coming, but with his attention focused somewhere else he was blindsided, and it knocked him to the ground.
My ten-year-old son, Derek, played second base on his Little League baseball team. During the warm up for the game it was routine for the catcher to throw down to him as if someone was trying to steal that base. Derek had just turned to talk to another player when the throw came, and it caught him square on the bone right above his left eye.
It was awful to watch. Derek dropped to ground and didn’t move. Though unconscious for only a few seconds, to this mom it seemed an eternity. Holding my breath, I watched as an EMT ran to him. After a few minutes Derek stirred, and the EMT helped him wobble off the field.
The EMT’s words to me? “You need to take him to get checked out. His pupils are contracting in opposition to each other. He probably has a concussion or other head injury. Don’t let him fall asleep until he’s been seen.”
Though Derek was a bit loopy during the drive to urgent care, he remained awake and coherent. Still, frantic prayer from this mother’s heart pleaded for God’s mercy and grace.
And God answered that prayer. When the doctor examined him, he found that Derek’s eyes were again working normally. It was determined that while being knocked unconscious indicated a concussion, they didn’t need to treat him any further. Sweet, calming relief slowed the pounding of my heart. The black eye that resulted, while truly impressive, was a small inconvenience compared to what the outcome could have been.
His attention wandered for only a few seconds, but that was all it took for Derek to be injured.
His pain is nothing compared to the pain we experience when we let ourselves be distracted from following Jesus. Though in the deepest core of our soul we recognize that He is what we yearn for most, other things vie for our affection. They might even be good things: our families; our jobs, or our friendships. But no matter how important they are, they cannot satisfy us the way that Jesus does. Saint Augustine put it this way: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”
Because He created us to have fellowship with Him. When we let other things divert us from that, we become vulnerable to assigning them a priority they were never intended to have. We settle for lesser things, because there is no pleasure, no meaning, no satisfaction greater than walking in the joy of our relationship with Him. And there is no greater pain than the regret that comes when we look back and realize what we lost when our affection wandered.
Don’t get distracted, and save yourself the pain of regret.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (bold is mine)
1. What are some of the things that tend to distract you from focusing on your relationship with the Lord?
2. What do you need to do to keep from being sidetracked by them?
Father, to know You is truly the deepest desire of my heart, but far too often other loves war within me. Please, open my eyes to see when my stubborn heart wants to wander, and purify it to love You best.