I vividly remember back when I was in the Utah National Guard and we were playing basketball at lunchtime in the armory. Being a basketball lover, I had to settle for a game with the “palookas.” (Palooka is the slang name for people who play basketball, but don’t really play basketball and have somehow learned that it makes sense to try to occupy the floor under someone’s feet when they jump to get a rebound, because theoretically they will no longer have a place to land…eassssssy Tony, good thoughts, just some good thoughts.) Since the palooka’s theory isn’t technically correct, I landed directly on Sergeant such and such’s foot and sprained the holy bejesus out of my ankle. As I lay there writhing in pain, several soldiers offered to carry me to my car for a later trip to the doctor. Now, being a believing man, after I stopped crying (smile) I thanked God for healing it right up, lickety split. It didn’t appear to be getting any better, so I eventually went to the doctor. He said it was badly sprained (surprise) and suggested I go and get some physical therapy. I went to therapy for what seemed like weeks doing all types of painful, sadistic, therapy torture and it just refused to get better. So, I settled into life as the guy who hobbles because his ankle was permanently screwed up. I kept trying to believe that God would heal it somehow, some way, even though a long time had gone by already. Now, here’s where it gets interesting. It suddenly dawned on me that I was still a young man, one that loved sports and there was no way on earth that I was going to be resigned to a life of hobbling. So I got this idea, an incredulous idea that I’m not sure I would do again. I decided that I was going to wrap my ankle in a brace and run around the track at West High School. And, by God, I didn’t care if my ankle crumbled completely, I was not going to stop running. (Desperate people are dangerous…smile) I started running on the track and the pain was so intense my eyes started leaking (masculine slang for crying again). After half a lap, incredibly the pain started to subside. By the end of the lap it was gone completely. I jumped up and down; I tested it; I ran some more – fixed! Wow!
How many of us are living a life of perpetual ankle pain and have just settled into hobbling? How many things have we simply accepted and acquiesced to? Oh sure, the real life suckers are never simple to solve, (or so they always seem) but with God there is always a solution! Always! The problem is that we have been trained by the world that we just have to live with certain things. “Welcome to getting older?” “Well, you can’t always get what you want!” And so on and so on. At first we fight and whine and gather up our courage to seek a solution, but eventually most of us throw our arms in the air and find a way to adapt to the problem. It’s like we find a wild, vicious dog in our livingroom. We don’t like it and make a few attempts to get him out. Then at some point, we simply close off the doors to that room and find ways to work around the vicious beast, for years and years and years. Crazy right?
After raising four wonderful children (and I do mean wonderful) you cannot even imagine how many unsolvable riddles we ran into with our kids. We would worry, like parents do; pray and pray, get frustrated and imagine the life of misery they would surely be subjected to because of ____… Then something wonderful always happened. During one of our prayers or multitude of conversations, we would reach some place of resolved agreement where we would exclaim, “Enough is enough already!” We would get just plain ol’ sick of “it” and resolve to find the solution. And we always did. When they left the house that was a whole different issue, but we will take that as it comes.
So, I’m asking you, what thing(s) are you living with that needs to get fixed? What problem do you need to solve and maybe have already given up on? Where do you find yourself teetering between this opinion and that opinion? People often comment that since God wants to heal people, why doesn’t He go to the hospital and heal everyone up? The truth is that He would if we would allow it. We have to believe and believing aint no casual wish. True believing is committed to it, resolved, sure! None of us start there, but we gotta get there. You have to rise up out of that defeated mindset; rise out of that memory of past failure and get serious. Enough is enough. You deserve a better life; one where your needs are met and you are happy. It is still there for you (no matter what anyone says to the contrary) because God is still here.
So, the next time you find yourself perplexed, defeated, miserable, downtrodden, worn out, tired, weary, frustrated, ask God to help you out. I mean it! In that fateful moment, share your heart with Big Poppa. Tell Him you are oh so tired of such and such and really ask Him to show you the way out. Then watch out baby! He is going to show you what’s up in specifics. Oh, it won’t come from where you expected it, but it will come. God is that big; that good! Life is short and is slipping away a day at a time, so make today the day “that turns your life around!” Make up your minds folks, it really is that simple!
So in the end, if some palookas come up and ask you to play basketball with them (and you can always recognize them by their shoes), run…