Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Incomparable Gift

I used to be a die-hard NBA fan.  From the days of Julius Erving and Larry Bird right up through Patrick Ewing, Carl Malone, and Michael Jordan I followed the bouncing basketball and my favorite teams at an all-consuming pace.

However, Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals turned the eyes of my heart from the TV screen to Daddy's matchless goodness, forever.
"Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man does, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free."  (Eph. 6:8)
I have never been a Chicago Bulls fan.
The Phoenix Suns weren't my favorite team, either.
But there it was... the championship match-up, and I wasn't going to miss it.

Back then, the Bulls' trophy shelf held only two titles and, by Game 6 of the series, a third was in sight.  But, like I said - I was not a Bulls fan.  So I prayed. And I didn't so much pray for the Suns to win as for the Bulls to lose.  Hey, that's how it goes in fan land, folks! ;0)
The Best of
My prayer went something like - Father, please don't let the Bulls win another championship! Please let the Suns win.

All my fan-fervor went into that prayer and, hey, being a favored daughter, I felt my single request locked that trophy into a cabinet of defeat for the Bulls and threw away the key... until I heard Abba's answer.

Through the pre-game theme music, fanfare, and popcorn Holy Spirit quietly spoke to me.
"It is necessary for the Bulls to win," He said.  "But I will allow the Suns to 'scare' them."
I remember kind of squinting my eyes and tilting my head at His words - disappointed, of course, but still too curious not to watch the game even though I knew its outcome.

Four grueling quarters featured some of the best athletic interchanges in all of basketball as guys like Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle, and Danny Ainge fought valiantly against the two-time champion force of MJ and Scottie Pippen - it was rough, and exciting, and wonderful!  Fans of that day may recall it being one of Jordan's toughest battles prior to opposing teams falling to mental fatigue and downright intimidation in later years.  Long-story-short, the Suns did "scare" the Bulls, just like Abba said.

Final score: Bulls 99, Suns 98.  Reallyyy close but, as they say, the W is the W. Although thanked the Lord for a thrilling spectacle of sportsmanship I'll not soon forget, I still didn't understand why He let the already-arrogant Bulls have their way that day...

Then Michael Jordan's father was murdered a month later.

Watching news accounts of how close the two had been and the joy they shared over Michael's successes brought it all home to me.  That 1993 match-up would be the last victory young Jordan would share with his dad, and God in His mercy chose to honor that.

Abba told me that, even though Michael's heart didn't belong to Him, the genuine loyalty he felt for his father reminded Him of Jesus' great love and loyalty, and that was the last opportunity for Him to reward that allegiance with triumph.

Saints, I cried.  Do you see the wonderful heart of God?!  O, His mercy is past our understanding, and His wisdom past our finding out!

From then on, I rejoiced in His choice to honor Michael Jordan's love for his father; in fact, it truly humbled me.  Daddy deemed it necessary that father and son have one last moment of joy together.  He deemed it necessary to honor the heart of a young man who had done a "good thing" in loving and being loyal to his dad.  It didn't matter that Michael wasn't saved, it didn't matter that I wanted the Suns to win.  What mattered to Abba was the sonship of Christ's heart mirrored within the character of Jordan toward his father.  What mattered was the staggering, unstoppable, everlasting mercy of our God's heart.   It is an incomparable gift to humanity outstretched to all who honor its attributes - saved or unsaved - by God's power.

God's heart is filled with compassion and love reigning inexhaustibly over the sons and daughters of the earth in every walk of life in His creation... and He will have mercy upon whom He will.

Thank God and His goodness for that.

In His Heart Every Day,
Daddy's Girl