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Topic: Reward (09/27/04)
TITLE: A Path For All
By Dan Blankenship
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Jami sensed an approaching defender – she could hear her footsteps, breathing, and time there closeness. A verse came to mind as she made adjustments to her travel: James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” Jami knew she could persevere both in her life for the Lord and in her endeavors to place the soccer ball, now being carried by her tired feet, into the back of the net.
The defender used her left foot to poke at the ball. It was a useless attempt. Jami had adjusted before the stab came, sliding off to the outside of the field with the grace and speed of a gazelle. And she thought of one of her favorite verses: Proverbs 6:5 “Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.” The defender had no choice but to slow her stride and watch the determined attacker approach the goal with an outside-in attack. Jami had overcome the trap set by the unearthly enemy, the audience oblivious to the spiritual warfare taking shape on the playing field.
Jami could see the back of the net now. She was on her way to the object of her desire. She had stayed focused, determined, and committed; no doubt about it, she was on a mission. And as she sprinted the last few yards she kept her stare on the goalie, the last warrior to stand in her way. She needed another Bible verse. She searched her mind for the appropriate scripture but drew a blank. She began to let the ball move too far in front. She panicked and tried to adjust her approach. The goalie ran out to challenge Jami’s approach. Jami could see the fierceness in the enemy’s face, and she began to doubt her ability to finish the task at hand. She felt weak – unable. She lost sight of the reward and became discouraged.
But at last, the Word came. It was a little late, but it was the spiritual nutrition she needed: Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” And as Jami silently said the words she sent a bullet of a shot into the back of the goal, causing the net to ripple from the impact. The crowd roared with excitement. Jami pictured them as angels celebrating another race won. And after she looked their way and smiled, she looked at the ball in the back of the net. For a brief moment she was sure she could see Jesus behind that goal. She blinked and realized He wasn’t there. She blinked again and realized He was always there. He was the way, the truth, and the life; and whether Jami was in a sanctuary with her head bowed or on a soccer field dribbling around an opposing defender, Jesus was with her. He was there to keep her heart, her mind, and her soul fixed on the workable path he had made for all humans. He had crushed the defense of humanity’s enemies – He had made a path for all.