This past summer I was watching a Detroit Tigers game and they were interviewing Nicholas Castellanos, one of the Tigers better hitters. He had just come off a very long slump and the interviewer asked, “How do you handle the ups and downs of baseball?”
Castellanos didn’t miss a beat. He talked about his dad. He said that while he was growing up his dad would tell him all the time that he was the best. So, whenever he is going through a down time in the season he just remembers his dad’s voice.
That interview has stuck with me a long time. I wonder if we believe that our heavenly Father loves us the way Castellanos’ dad loves him?
Life is really hard. The good times and the bad times both come and go. Seemingly with no rhyme or reason.
When the bad times come, how do we respond? Will we be able to hear our Father’s voice, the one that says, “I love you, you’re the best.”
King Ahaz, an ancient Jewish King, was having a real bad time. He inherited a kingdom that was in disarray. The people of God had rebelled against God. The nation was about to be exiled. In Isaiah 7 we read that his heart “shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind,” because the nations of Aram and Israel were coming to attack Jerusalem.
Isaiah went to encourage Ahaz in his faith. He told him not to fear, to be quiet, and not to let his heart faint. He even talks a little smack about the two nations coming to destroy Jerusalem. There is a sense that God is saying, “I see you. I got you.”
Then at the end of the conversation Isaiah says,
If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all.
How could he though? Two armies were knocking at his door. I would have been afraid too. Yet, Isaiah calls him to stand in faith.
I think in the midst of this is the reminder that God loves us. He loves us and will meet us in our bad times. When those times come we need to hear the voice of the Father saying, “I love you, you’re the best.”
When we know we’re loved we can stand firm in the faith.
During this time of Advent, while we are waiting, we must stand firm in the faith. What will ultimately give us our strength to stand is the knowledge that we are loved.
Do you believe this? Do you believe that you are loved?