Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion for August 24, 2016

Greetings!!

“Take me out to the ball game.  Take me out to the park.  Buy me some candy and cracker jacks….”  Many of you know that is the song sung at virtually every level of baseball game during what is known as the ‘seventh inning stretch’.  The ‘seventh inning stretch’ is actually exactly what it sounds like.  During the seventh inning of the ball game everyone is encouraged to stand up, move around and sing the familiar “Take me out to the ball game” song.  It is one of those traditions that is just fun for everyone! (And did you know it started because in the first years of baseball it was considered rude to get out of your seats during a game so it gave the crowd a chance to stand up!) 
If there is time many of the ball parks now follow the “Take me out to the ball game” song with the YMCA song as everyone sings and dances the song while creating the Y, the M, the C and the A in the air with their arms!  
There are lots of fun things that happen in a baseball park while the game is going on.  Each park usually has their own repertoire of entertaining events that occur between innings.  There are often games played by adults or children out on the field - my personal favorite is the one where two adults must put their heads on the end of a baseball bat with the other end of the bat on the ground.  The adults must spin around for a certain amount of time and then when time is called they have to stand up and run a race.  It is pretty hysterical as the now very dizzy adults stagger down the course……
Ball games also include various music riffs that are meant to stir up the crowd so they will cheer loudly for the home team.  We sing “We are the Champions” - the old Queen song along with another Queen song, “We will Rock You” which involves loud foot stomping which really seems to get people in the cheering mood.  
And no game would be complete without the trumpet da-da-da-da-da followed by the hand motion as ‘Charge!’ is yelled!!
But the other night my husband and I went to a game where we got to do none of the  extra fun activities at the ball park.  
Before we go to the game, my husband and I usually very judiciously check the weather forecast.  Not that we are wimpy and are afraid to get wet, but because we find nothing worse than standing around waiting for a game to resume after rain has arrived and the game goes into the ‘inevitable rain delay’ mode.  The ‘rain delay mode’ means that everyone in the stands at the ball park rushes to the few covered areas and huddles there for an indefinite period of time - sometimes minutes; sometimes hours.  Having previously experienced the standing around for hours for the game to resume - or for them to finally ‘call the game’ and send everyone home, which is especially hard to take after you have stood around waiting for hours for the game to begin again!  
So in order to avoid that experience, we usually  check the weather forecast and if there is a particularly good chance there will be a rain delay, we usually stay home from the ballpark and avoid that rainy unpleasantness!
However, sometimes we get it wrong.  Last week we thought we checked the weather but either we didn’t or we grossly misread the radar on our phone weather app because we weren’t at the game for 1 inning before the sprinkles came.  Of course the game continues with just sprinkles and it had been pretty hot so we figured we could tough that out.  
But sprinkles turned into rain which turned into a cats and dogs downpour.  We quickly joined the rest of the crowd who were packed under the one awning and the light bulb went off over my husbands head as he remembered the big umbrella we owned was in the car and in order not to have to be packed into the midst of the crowd he was willing to brave the elements and take off running to the car where he retrieved the large umbrella!
By the time he got back to the packed under the awning location, the rain began to slack off and only the sprinkles remained and the game resumed.  We went back to our seats, used our programs to dry the wet (and I was amazed at how absorbent the paper from our programs were as it dried those seats right up!)  We sat back down, the teams ran back out onto the field, they executed maybe 3 plays and the cats and dogs downpour arrived again.  
However, we had our umbrella and we popped it up and there we sat.  The rain poured down all around us and we figured that it wouldn’t be long till we were told the game was suspended and we were to go home….. But in the meantime we were dry and not in the huge crowd shoved shoulder to shoulder together under the awning!
The other factor in this rainy game was that it was Friday night; Friday night is fireworks night at the park.  The fireworks people obviously read or didn’t read the same weather forecast we did because all the fireworks had been put up and were ready to go….. And I learned that fireworks can even be put off in the midst of pouring rain because that is what they did.  Figuring the game was going to be called off and they couldn’t put the fireworks back up whoever makes such decisions decided to go ahead and deliver the fireworks show. 
Even though my husband and I were disappointed that the game was rained out, what a special time we had as we sat in the stands under our big umbrella watching the beautiful firework display.  It was pretty much just the two of us left to see the shooting sky colors, but being able to have this experience was, almost, worth the rainy night.  My husband and I together, under the big umbrella, almost alone in the stands, oohing and aahing over the beautiful sky show - it was great!
God often does this for us - creates unsuspected enjoyable moments in our lives.  Things in our life fall apart; things happen that ruin the plans we have had; things happen that cause us to have to stop in our tracks; life just isn’t going how we envisioned just like sitting in the pouring rain at a ball park.  
In the midst of our depression, our confusion, our devastation, God creates a special moment - something we never expected which gives us a temporary respite from the woes of our life.  God is full of surprises and he will always come through when we least expect it.  
Amen