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Cardinal Under Pressure

Photo by: happysteve

I didn’t stay up last night to see David Freese’s 11th inning game winning home run get the St Louis Cardinals into the 7th game of the World Series. But I read the news this morning of what must have been baseball at its best.

Was also interested in after the game comments by Cardinal Lance Berkman who went 3 for 4 for the night, scored three runs, and got a game saving hit in the 10th inning– with 2 strikes and two outs. According to a Washington Post article, Berkman said of the pressure of such a moment, “I’m definitely not loose, I don’t think this is fun…It’s obviously fun when you win, but going into the game it’s not fun. It’s not fun to go up there with a season on the line.”

I don’t know much about Berkman, but was interested in another quote that I think we can all identify with. Talking again about the pressure, he said he prayed, not for “hits and stuff” but for a “calmness and an ability to compete, because I think that’s all you can ask for.”

In our last couple of conversations we’ve been talking about a different kind of competition, a struggle that is not with flesh and blood but with spiritual enemies. Yet in the heat and pressure of this more important battle, there is a parallel to Berkman’s field-wisdom. Our best prayers are probably not to get the immediate results we want, but rather to experience the right kind of spirit.

Paul seemed to come to that point after discovering that God was going to let Satan continue to harass him. After asking three times for an unidentified “thorn in the flesh” to be removed, he found peace (if not physical comfort) in the assurance that experiencing God’s grace in the middle of his pain was more important than the relief he wanted (2Cor 12:7-9).

No, none of us wants to pray for trouble. I don’t think we should. But would any of us choose to win a devil-free life if it meant losing an opportunity to compete/experience the “game” and grace of God in the process?

“Game” probably isn’t the right word. But I think you know what I mean :-)…


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12 Responses to “Cardinal Under Pressure”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, if you get a chance listen to a Garth Brooks super hit called “The Dance” as well as Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance”. Both songs are of human courage and life; they both echo your thoughts this morning.


  2. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… Cardinal under pressure? This is another experience in the world, showing us it’s ugly head, providing lots of pressure on all of us. We as Christ Followers, have an Eternal Relief Valve provided within us, in knowing, beleiving, and in trusting that the rest of the story that God has revealed to us through His Spirit, is for our good and is all part of His Eternal Plan.
    So, looking outwardly we see the pressure build daily, and loking inwardly, we find our peace in Him, but only if we choose to do so. Looking inward for a believer is also looking up! The worldly do not have that type of double vision. Gary

  3. Mart De Haan says:

    Don’t know the songs but will find them today. Thanks.

  4. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    E. Stanley Jones writes:

    “O Christ, I look at thee and my soul dances with an inexpressible joy that will dance its way through death — and beyond. In thee I’m free — from death. I know it. Amen.”

    It seems to me we want to do what we do with excellence and success, like Lance Berkman. But, I believe Paul embraces the truth of this life — of death — and life beyond death:

    “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ (Hosea 13:14)

    O Death, where is your sting?
    O Hades, where is your victory?

    The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

    As we age in place here in the world, we are becoming more and more fit for life — the free gift given through Christ’s life, death and resurrection!



  5. remarutho says:

    Sorry! My well known reference is (1 Corinthians 15:54-59). Maru

  6. poohpity says:

    I wish the lessons we had to learn came without pain and suffering but that is not how it works for us, in my experience. Just as our faith does not grow unless it is put to the test not that the Lord tests us but life sure does. Some become stagnate in their walk with the Lord while others have faith that can trust God because they have experienced Him being with them through the hardest times in life and now they know, not just feel, but know His presence has never left no matter what the circumstances and have learned to praise God in it all because they now God’s heart and have seen His hand move.

    Gold is only pure after all the slag is removed. Without the pressures from life how do we ever get to learn the lessons and actually I have seen those who’s lives are the same ol’ same ol’ and they seem to have hard hearts, anger, hatred and all kinds of ugly things growing out of them. We need to be pruned and I find it comforting to know that God is not going to leave me the way I am but helping me to depend on Him when my weakness makes me humble enough to allow Him to work.

  7. florida7sun says:

    To be “in the zone” of life is a wonderful experience. You are totally focused with extraordinary energy and power of purpose. There is a spiritual dimension that assures confidence of success and grants peace in the midst of trials.

    Following his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus, Paul lived his life in the zone:

    “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:10-11

    The Lord is gracious to us. He comforts and guides us through all manner of trials and afflictions.

    I have discovered that “resurrection and new life” is realized when Jesus is praised in the midst of suffering. God’s will be done, not mine. His Word then comes alive. I am empowered with my full attention on Him.

    No distractions. No noise. The enemy of my soul is then silenced. I am at peace. “It is finished.”

    The love of God for me and my love for my Savior is all that matters. The Lord is always merciful. He always provides strength for life’s journey into everlasting.

    I know I am weak and can do nothing, absolutely nothing, apart from His unmerited favor.

    In the zone I can run the race with enthusiasm and endurance, embracing Paul’s declaration, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians 6:14

  8. poohpity says:

    Ray, do you ever feel down or like life is crushing down around you?

  9. saled says:

    I like the Berkman quote where he says he prays not for hits, but for calmness and the ability to compete. It reminds of the Kipling poem ‘If”. Such calmness is not easy to find. What an idea: it’s not so much the trials or the triumphs that are important, but the calmness and ability to take part.

  10. florida7sun says:

    Hi Pooh. I have to answer yes and no. I am a Christian under construction. Throughout my life I have seen God answer prayer in wondrous and miraculous ways. Those memorable moments have become markers for me. They are times I reflect upon in my spirit. They have drawn me closer and closer to Him. The testimonies of other believers have also strengthened my faith.

    The 23rd Psalm is precious to me. There are seasons in all of our lives when we walk through the darkest valleys. Yet I know my Redeemer lives. He guides and comforts me with His rod and staff.

    He is my Shepherd and lovingly gave His life for me.

    I believe the glory of God that was revealed to Paul enabled him to declare, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” I too have discovered that life apart from Christ is no life at all.

    Another thing I have learned is the importance of praying for others when we are in the darkest of valleys. Praying for others opens up to us higher ground, much like the saying, “”I was crying for shoes till I saw a man with no legs.” In being thankful for all the blessings we take for granted (sufferings included), we can praise Him and reach out to those in need.

    Intercessory prayer for others lifts us higher and higher and opens up new horizons for service.

    Jesus is continually praying for us. The eternal love and relationship He has with His Father is the same one He desires for us as His Body.

    God’s love is everything. In reality there is no reason for me to ever be down. There are times though I have to draw real close to Him and not wander too far from His presence. He always takes my hand and is happy to walk with me.

  11. MomB says:

    11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
    This reminds me of what I experienced the other day and how the LORD brought to mind this verse. I had a day of darkness, recounting a reoccurring sin I struggle with. I confessed it to the LORD once again and told him the darkness I feel like I am in. Then as if a light went on, the LORD showed me that once I am in HIM, and HIS light is in me, HIS MERCY and GRACE have given me eyes to see in the darkness. Praise his name. I was thinking about how when you are in total darkness you can’t see a thing, yet, in CHRIST our darkness shows forth light to see our sin and to see HIS GOODNESS. So IN CHRIST darkness and light bring forth the same result . . . . HIS MERCY AND GRACE. Amen.

  12. foreverblessed says:

    THank you very very much MomB, for this beautiful message,
    God’s light brings Grace and Mercy. I pray that people who have sinned and see their disgrace, and are afraid to face what they are, would realise this Light, that brings Mercy and Grace, and no need for fear for God.
    He happily wants to cleanse our sins in the blood of Christ.

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