It started off pretty bad, par for my course, yet it wasn’t a golf course, it was the Pickle Ball court! I could hear a chuckle or two from the side line of chairs. I am often entertainment for the others; but that’s really okay with me. My serve wasn’t even getting in bounds; balls were flying past me; somehow they even flew through the holes in my paddle; no wait, there are no holes in a Pickle Ball paddle; this paddle is more like an oversized ping-pong paddle. Like I say, it was a bad, really bad start.
But as the hours ticked away, I began getting advice from a married couple. The wife has been helping me for weeks now; but her husband joined in, my tag-team-coaches. Things began to change. I began to change. Listening wasn’t enough. Slowly I approached the net; closer and closer I’d stand; daring being hit by a flying wiffle ball, I stood my ground; Lo and behold, balls were connecting with my paddle, shots were landing inside the boundaries, and soon I was making points with shots the opponents couldn’t reach-all within a two-hour time period.
No, that’s not fair to say that all of a sudden I am a Pickle Ball player to be reckonded with. I’ve been playing, no practicing, no attempting to play Pickle Ball for months now. Advice has been offered over and over again. I’ve been told repeatedly to come up to the net, that where I was standing was no man’s land. Why did it sink in now? Why hadn’t I listened and applied given instructions before now? Why had it not occurred to me that someone else, someone who had played for years, might just know a thing or two worth trying.
Now, I’m not saying this will stick. I’m not saying next time I’ll continue to progress. I’m only saying, I felt what was taught; I actually followed through, by taking those scary steps forward, by reaching out my paddle and using it to not just hit, but block the forward motion. The block itself propelled the ball back over the net. Remaining forward near the net, kept me from running back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, sweating profusely.
Well, Dear Lord, yes, I see the lesson here. How long have I had a Bible of my own; how long have I attended Sunday School; how long have I listened to sermon after sermon; how long have I heard other’s stories in Bible study groups; how long have we talked together, You and I; how many years have I journaled; how many hymns have I sung; how many Bible verses have I read? You know, and I know; You know and I know, too, how many missteps, mistakes, misses and near misses have impeded my progress. You know and I know how many times I got the message, but then did not put Your Words into practice. You know, and yet, You remain by me, within me, for me, my forever life-coach. Thank You is not enough; thank You will never be enough. But that’s the point isn’t it? As long as I’m trying, showing up, bringing the right equipment, wearing the proper attire, You will still be there, encouraging, teaching, coaching, picking me up when I fall and scrape a knee or two. No, I didn’t even get that right, did I. All required is to accept that Jesus gave His life, was tortured and died, that I might be forgiven. A clean slate is offered. My mere presence, willing presence, is all You require. The rest will follow as they say. Trust this, believe this, understanding is not required. The rest will follow.
Dear Lord You are so GOOD. You are so PATIENT. You are such a wonderful TEACHER. You want to be my FRIEND. How amazing is that!?
Again, thank You is not enough; thank You will never be enough. But that’s the point isn’t it?
Here are some quotes I found on perseverance.
The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t. ~Henry Ward Beecher
When the world says, “Give up,” hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” ~Author Unknown
Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. ~Josh Billings
Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. ~Newt Gingrich
It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. ~Albert Einstein
Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock. ~Author Unknown
Saints are sinners who kept on going. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
Tell Me the Stories of Jesus, is a hymn I have known and sung since childhood. I never knew some of these verses; they are lovely!
This hymn was written by William H. Parker in 1885 for his Sunday School students, music by Frederick A. Challinor, 1903.
Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here;
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
First let me hear how the children stood round His knee,
And I shall fancy His blessing resting on me;
Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,
All in the love light of Jesus’ face.
Tell me, in accents of wonder, how rolled the sea,
Tossing the boat in a tempest on Galilee;
And how the Maker, ready and kind,
Chided the billows, and hushed the wind.
Into the city I’d follow the children’s band,
Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand.
One of His heralds, yes, I would sing
Loudest hosannas, Jesus is King!
Tell how the sparrow that twitters on yonder tree,
And the sweet meadow-side lily may speak to me—
Give me their message, for I would hear
How Jesus taught us our Father’s care.
Show me that scene in the garden, of bitter pain.
Show me the cross where my Savior for me was slain.
Sad ones or bright ones, so that they be
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.