I love to play basketball with my kids out front. We wheel out our hoop to the front street and play a little heated yet friendly game of hoops…with a family of 8 a little 4 on 4 is an easy and fun past time in this house. I do have this famous “let it rain!” shot in which I yell “LET IT RAIN” and shoot the ball for the 10 pointer (who am I kidding…) and shoot the ball from ANY distance or nearness to the hoop and with all the faith that maybe just maybe this time my efforts might meet with success and I actually sink a ball in the net. Actually I would settle at this point for the ball to just hit the backboard!! As it is right now, the cows in the field across the street from my home scatter themselves warning each other to moooove out of the way when they see me with a basketball in my hands!! The rest of the family does quite well its just I that seems to be so skilled at the comic relief on the court. However, though I am lacking severely in basketball skill it doesn’t stop me from getting out on the court each time…why, you might wonder after the embarrassment I’ve just described…well because I want to spend time with my kids, its time with my kids that I’m craving more than ever sinking that “Let It Rain” shot. Which made me start to think about how I face situations in which my faith might begin to feel more like a whisper in my heart…when things seem out of control (like me throwing a basketball toward a hoop with the odds stacked so high against me.) I need to lift my eyes above what I don’t understand (like who ever thought to make a basketball hoop so high and make it so small around in the first place…I would have gone with more a hula hoop diameter and about eye level at least!) Lift my eyes above the hoop to the One who desires a relationship with me more that anything…Who gave His life for me to be with Him forever. The reason I get out there on the court is to engage in a relationship with my kids…whatever I am facing that seems to be waning my faith should maybe be the very thing that is strengthening it, allowing Him a chance to show Himself to me in ways He never has before, to show me more of His great I AM self that there wasn’t opportunity for before or at least He didn’t have my attention to show me or reveal it to me before now. I’m thinking of something I just read about Abram in Genesis 15. Abram was facing a very confusing situation that to him made no sense but in verse 5 God says “Look up” and by verse 6 Abram believed out of faith not logical understanding. Verse 1 God says “Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” So many times in the bible it doesn’t seem God lays out a clear road map for His children He just says Who He is and that He will be with them. I think because He desires that relationship more than anything and He knows if we have any reason to rely on ourselves we will, thus forfeiting our opportunity to see Him make more of our lives then we ever thought possible. He wants to see us make that basket we never could have made on our own so that all those around us also see His glory revealed! When Abram asks in verse 8 O Sovereign LORD, how can I know…. the Lord responds in verse 13 and 14 with basically…It is going to be really rough but don’t worry it ends well! Matthew 11:6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me. -So Lord please strengthen my faith by showing me more about who You are and revealing Your presence with me even when I can’t understand my situations and circumstances. When I ask God to reveal more about who He is I am reminded of a situation in Gen 18:17 where God contemplates whether or not He should reveal what He is about to do with Abraham and its His decision in verse 19 that gets me!! For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised. Verse 20 Then the Lord said… and He goes on to reveal His thoughts to Abraham! WOW! So I think when God knows you will share the new things He reveals to your heart with your children..grandchildren… He will reveal more of who He is to make His glory known and to strengthen the next generation in Him. I have no greater desire then for my kids to seek (crave) a true authentic relationship with the Lord more than anything. I know He craves them/us. Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. – He is longing for us to choose Him..He already has chosen us but we have to return the feeling.. Jesus the Good Shepherd leaves the 99 to find the 1…the one in greatest need the one that feels they have failed the worst like when He takes the time to see Hagar in Gen 16…or even me. I can wonder in Gen 17:1 why it seems such a long time in between conversations if Abraham was called a friend of God…but he was also known as the father of faith and faith is hanging on when we don’t see, hear or understand…when our faith feels like only a whisper, don’t let go..He won’t let go of you. Look at the cross, you are dearly loved (John 3:16). Hebrews 12:1 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 IT RAIN!