I have long said that the most effective way to touch people with the Gospel - that is, to make a significant impact on their time on earth and upon their eternity - is through a three-part rhythm of personal contact, meaningful conversations, and prayer. The last couple weeks have provided me with multiple settings for these, which have left me both exhilarated and exhausted. In other words, these have been exhilar-hausting weeks - sorta like the Pistons game on Tuesday night.
I plopped into my chair and flicked on the TV with less than 5 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. I don't watch the Pistons that much, but the timing was right to view those few minutes and then go to bed. I wasn't planning on overtime! I almost turned it off after the Pistons scored the first six points in overtime, but didn't. Suddenly it was tied ... then back and forth, until Blake Griffin won it on a 'traditional' three-point play with 1.6 seconds remaining. I got to bed a little later than planned, but had seen a very exciting finish. I was, what can I say, exhilar-hausted!
My past two weeks have been similarly exhilar-hausting in my 'overtime' conversations with people. Through that pattern of personal contact, meaningful conversations and prayer I met with more interesting people - and heard more fascinating stories - than I could ever imagine. Some of those conversations come early in the morning ... others throughout the day ... and still others long after the sun has vanished. And, for me, there is nothing more exhilarating than spending an entire day filled with individual and small-group conversations.
However, by the time I got home last night, I was exhausted ... and there was this World Series baseball game on the TV. It was the bottom of the fifth inning. Boston was down by one with two outs. I decided to watch the final out of that inning and then go to bed. The next batter got a single. Two batters later the bases were loaded ... just like the night before, I couldn't go to bed now! Three batters later the Sox had a 4-2 lead and the inning was over (finally). Part of me yearned to stay up to watch the rest of the game, but the exhaustion side won over. Good decision - no more runs were scored the rest of the game (Some other day we may discuss the bittersweet taste of having David Price and JD Martinez as the two stars of the game).
This morning I woke up refreshed, and ready to go. Why? You might say it is because I chose not to watch those final four innings, but that's not the major factor. That major factor is a little promise made by our energizer-bunny God. "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40.28-31)
It all starts with that three-part rhythm: Jesus making personal contact with me in my baptism ... those meaningful conversations he has with me as I read and meditate upon his word ... and my time responding in prayer. This rhythm has made a significant impact upon me - both upon the time in which I live and upon my eternity. It has freed me to live and enjoy this exhilar-hausting life with no doubt about my eternal security.
"Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted" ... no wonder an old man like me gets worn out ... "but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Please notice there are NO AGE RESTRICTIONS on the promise. In other words, it's not just for me - it's for you, too. This exhilar-hausting life is God's gift to us here on earth ... with the promise that ... perhaps after what may seem like 'extra-innings' ... the "hausting" will be gone ... and we will be "ating" forever!