Saturday, August 12, 2017

Happy National Bowling Day!

Happy National Bowling Day! How are you celebrating this special holiday? Throwing a few strikes at the local bowling alley? Sending pins up into the air like party balloons? Reminiscing about your history with gutters and your preference for bumpers?

I've chosen the last option and taken a trip down gutter ball memory lane. My bowling history is truly pathetic pathetic. In my youth I resorted to the squat and roll technique. I would approach the lane, kneel down and push the ball down the lane. Throwing the ball would have been an option had I not been so woefully inept at the concept. I couldn't throw the ball straight to save my life - or my score. I was a doomed gutter girl. Without the help of bumpers I was completely hopeless at getting a strike or even enough pins to maintain a credible score. My numbers were so pathetic they were ridiculous, not a serious player in the game. So when I bowled I took my turns with silliness and rolled in 50 points purely for fun.
Suffice it to say, I never became a very regular, or skilled, bowler. When I've bowled I've always needed bumpers to keep me out of the gutters and a lot of grace to let me stay in the game.

...Funny how things haven't changed much...

It has been years since I've stepped foot in a bowling alley, let alone attempted to take down a pin, but I'm still in need of bumpers to keep me out of gutters. I'm in need of merciful grace to keep me in the game, playing on God's glorious team to claim the ultimate prize.
Along this alley way of life there are gutters that lead straight to destruction, ruin and devastation. Much more than points are at stake. Now eternal life is on the line. The alley isn't a part of some silly game. This is the way to eternity.
I've made so many bad throws and pathetic pushes to get down my alley of life. I've taken throws without proper form or preparation and without the help of my bumper. On my own the ball always goes for the gutter. A few times its course has looked promising enough. It goes straight for a few feet but the fate of my ball - my plan, my agenda, my will, my way - always ends up right where my bowling balls did in the bowling alley. The gutter.
The truth is I am in more desperate need of bumpers now than I ever was in my occasional bowling days. I am in desperate need of God's bumpers that keep me out of life's gutters. I need God to put up His hedge of protection around me to keep me on track. Without His steady hand leading me I have no hope of a strike. Apart from God keeping me on the straight and narrow path I am doomed to end up in the gutter of defeat.

The good news is God provides bumpers. He has not set me in front of this slippery, slick alleyway and left me to take the pins down alone. He's come along to not just help me, but to guide me. He isn't just going to teach me how to throw the ball, He is going to protect it once it gets rolling. When I bowl with God He gives me the protection I need to make it safely to the end of the lane. His path comes with bumpers that keep me steady, stable and safe all the way to an eternal strike.
Now that's a holy-day I can celebrate.

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