Dear Friends,

Your pastor broke the law last night.  There is a group of us who meet every Sunday evening, 8:30 pm sharp, at Lake Lowell to run the trails.  That the trails were closed due to the government shut-down didn’t stop us.  I warned Helen if I didn’t return, it might be because I was incarcerated.

Before I left home, I made sure game two of the Red Sox – Tigers series was recording.  And I made sure on the drive to the lake not to tune to the game on my car radio.  I wanted to watch the action as if I were watching it live.  No spoilers.  So I tuned to political talk radio. No chance of hearing sports scores there.

We had a great five mile run.  No federal authorities hassled us.  I drove home, looking forward to a warm shower and a late night watching my Red Sox in this must-win game.  The talk show host was droning on as talk show hosts do and then said something very much out of context.  “Big Papi has just hit . . . ”  I was able to shut the radio off so I wasn’t able to hear any more.  But that was actually quite a bit of information. “Big Papi” is David Ortiz, Boston’s beloved power hitter.  What I had heard clearly was good news for Boston.

Then I watched the game. In the 6th inning, it was 5-0 Detroit.  Boston didn’t even have a base hit.  (In game one, they got one hit in the entire game.)  It wasn’t looking good. It was looking pretty hopeless.  Even “Big Papi” couldn’t rescue the Red Sox this time.  And yet I knew he eventually would do something significant enough that the guy on the radio broke into his show with the news. So I watched with more hope and anticipation than I would have otherwise.  Could this game end with a miracle comeback?  Not likely.  And yet I knew there was something worth waiting for.  I knew I had to stay awake.

As it turned out, “Big Papi” did make a significant contribution to the game!  In the bottom of the 8th, with the score 5-1, he hit a grand slam home run.  And then in the bottom of the 9th, the Red Sox brought home the winning run.  What a ball game!

It occurs to me that we as Christians are in a similar position to mine last night.  There is a lot of bad news in our world and in our lives. There is more than enough to get us pretty depressed and discouraged.  And yet we are in privileged possession of some good news that changes how we view all this.  Our “Big Papi” in heaven is going to do something amazing!  We know that.  We don’t know how or when. We don’t have the details.  It still seems too good to be true. But we know enough to not give up.  We know enough not to toss in the towel and go to bed early.  We know enough to hold onto our hope.

May your day be filled with that hope!  And may you not miss an opportunity to share that hope with someone today who is discouraged!!

In Christ,