Saturday, July 16, 2011
THE INVISIBLE UMPIRE
Summertime in Pittsburgh….the Pirates are winning. Sweet. As the fair weather fans remember how much they like the Pirates, and the old perennials, we decide to go “catch a game”. That’s me, Lydia, and her friend Kelly.
Sometime, oh I don’t know, right before the 7th inning stretch, I noticed something. Huh? I looked at the diamond, with particular emphasis on 2nd base because of an outstanding double play that had just taken place. The Cubs were just getting into position for the next batter, but there were TWO men standing at second. Not one, but two. Well whaddya know? It was the Ump. I opened my eyes real wide and said to old Chuck (me), “Hey old Chewey (me again), look at the umpires all over the field..first base….second …..third….outfield…..and of course, home plate.” We tend to notice the home plate guy, because he is always running his mouth (ha,ha). “Strike”, “ball”, “safe”, etc. However, I know the other guys are there, but I just kinda forget about them. I quit thinking they are there because (no offense umpires), but nobody CARES about them. They don’t care about them. They come to see the team, and umpires are only useful as somebody to occasionally yell at, and even then that is usually just the home plate guy.
I have talked to others, and I am not the only one who thinks this way.
Do you ever watch boxing? There are three guys in the ring at all times. How many of you guys get caught up in the fighting and forget for a time that another guy is standing right there? How’s about the basketball referees? (yins). How often do you drive the same path, never noticing a certain business? My daughter (who writes a better blog than I) once pointed out how we often do not notice the homeless. I would like to build on that: How often do we not see pain, loneliness and desperation among those around us? One last illustration, if I may: Have you ever gotten a new car, AND THEN you notice all of them on the road? It goes something like this, “Hey Marge, look. That’s OUR car. I never noticed, but there are a lot of these on the road. My wife and I will look at a bumper sticker and say to each other, “Look…Marine Corps”. If either of us has had a lot of caffeine or sugar, we may follow that statement with a “hoorah”.
Here some of my personal take-aways on this whole failure to notice the other guy standing at second base:
- How often do people see no evidence of Jesus in the world, thinking those who believe are ridiculous, or at least a bit dim? YET, these people are simply not focusing on Him. They are captivated by the world, and all the things that are going on around them. They are not looking for Jesus, as we don’t look for the umpire, so naturally, they don’t see Him. But, he is standing there the whole time, and he sees all. In fact, He is watching them.
- Conversely, when someone truly believes, he or she focuses on Christ, and does not really see the inane activity of the world. That Christian knows it is there, and that person should be cognizant of what is going on in this world, in order to be used….that is a different path, which we will not go down. But the point is, we see what we focus on.
- How often does divorce happen because someone is so focused on themselves (MY dreams, MY fulfillment, MY needs) that they fail to see the treasure before them…the spouse and/or the children with whom they have been gifted?
- How often do people focus on their problems (addictions, failures, wrongs they have suffered, self-doubts that plague them), when they never open up and SEE the people around them who just MIGHT be their friend, encourager, or helper). Instead, they focus on their hurt, in fact nurturing it as some kind of sick self-identity. Often, the answer is right there along. I am not offering flippant answers to life’s very real pain and complex issues that often seem intractable. I am only saying people fail to see what is right in front of their nose. Sometimes they CHOOSE that path. I have an unnamed relative, whom I love dearly, but who is bound and determined to see no answers out of his self-imposed dilemmas. He says, in essence”, “Nope, I do not care what you say. “I am miserable, depressed, worthless, and hopeless, and NOTHING you say or do will talk me out of it.” I have to be very frank with you…how sick. There is no complex way out for this. It is simple (but not easy): God is standing RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOUR NOSE. He is waiting for you to get your eyes off the losing ball game and look at HIM. He is the ultimate umpire, but we gotta see Him and listen. He DOES have the answers. They may be hard, but they ARE the answers.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[a] on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
From Psalm 139