So many thoughts rushing through my head, like an engine that was never meant to be shut down, but neither was it meant to run at idle. Wide open, always, torturing me through the night as I toss and turn fighting for my rest. I wake, exhausted and hoping today is not more of the same. I reach for inspiration, but often I pull back an empty hand. I know well that my grasp will not likely be rewarded…yet still I reach.

I pray that things will change, that the tide will turn as the momentum shifts in my favor, yet the battle remains uphill-it seems it always will.  I play defense mostly, as I guard my heart against the bitterness that threatens to overtake me. The same bitterness that feeds the deadly mouth of cynicism. The combination of the two is a poison that kills our joy and adds misery to our suffering.

The word declares that if we ask it shall be given, we must however ask with right motives, and for any who lack wisdom the scriptures proclaim that we should make that request and father of lights who is the giver of all good gifts will provide in abundance. So I ask, checking and rechecking the motivation behind my requests. My prayer is simple – Lord, give me back my voice, give to me the inspiration that fuels my passion…Simply put: Restore my passion, restore my joy.

Finally, it happens. It’s Friday night and the community has gathered into their holding pen like trained sheep. The hometown football team is ahead by a significant margin, so with only a few minutes left on the clock my son will finish out the game at QB. This is the day he has waited for -his moment in the sun. Ty ran the first few plays and watched as the clock unwound. On what would prove to be the last play, and winning by a comfortable margin, he looks to the clock and finds 3 seconds remaining. What does he do? Instead of running out the clock and ushering in the moment when they all can celebrate their victory – He calls a timeout. I must admit that even the refs looked stunned. The coach appeared to wave off the time out and the game ended. When asked why he had called the timeout his answer was simple – I wanted to score.

I was proud of the determination he showed and I am thankful for the lesson this taught me, both in life and in ministry. You see, the clock is running and though we might be ahead and the victory a certainty, we need to realize that in life there is no timeout. We cannot simply stop the clock when time nears its end. If we are going to score in life we cannot wait till the end of life to do it. We should start now.

This may seem like a small thing, but for me this simple anecdote was enough, it was a reminder that “he will never leave us, nor forsake us.” In my moments of greatest despair I have trained myself to look for inspiration, and in his goodness the lord saw fit to provide – even if it was through a boneheaded move by a determined young man who just wanted to score.