Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trust the Catcher….

I've been cleaning up some of my "database." Files, snippets, quotes, old emails....etc...scattered all over the on my computer, flash drives, Evernote, SpringPad, Zoho Notebook, AOL Mail and Windows Live Writer. (What can I say….I’ve tried a lot of note programs)  Sometimes when I go back through files, I find treasures I've forgotten about.  And snippets....far flung and diverse....seem to fit together.  You will see a few upcoming posts birthed because of this "spring" cleaning project.  Some, like this post, will rely mostly on words written by others....

There is a story told by Henri Nouwen in his book Our Greatest Gift: Meditations on Dying and Caring

"The Flying Rodleighs are trapeze artists who perform in the German circus Simoneit-Barum. When the circus came to Freiburg two years ago, my friends Franz and Reny invited me and my father to see the show. I will never forget how enraptured I became when I first saw the Rodleighs move through the air, flying and catching as elegant dancers.

The next day, I returned to the circus to see them again and introduced myself to them as one of their great fans. They invited me to attend their practice sessions, gave me free tickets, asked me to dinner, and suggested I travel with them for a week in the near future. I did, and we became good friends.

One day, I was sitting with Rodleigh, the leader of the troupe, in his caravan, talking about flying. He said, "As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher, The public might think that I am the greatest star of the trapeze, but the real star is Joe, my catcher. He has to be there for me with split-second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump."

    "How does it work?" I asked.

    "The secret," Rodleigh said, "is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything: when I fly to Joe, I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catchbar."

    "You do nothing!" I said, surprised.

    "Nothing," Rodleigh repeated. "A flyer must fly, and a catcher must catch, and the flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him."
    When Rodleigh said this with so much conviction, the words of Jesus flashed through my mind: "Father into your hands I commend my Spirit." Dying is trusting in the catcher. To care for the dying is to say, "Don't be afraid. Remember that you are the beloved child of God. He will be there when you make your long jump. Don't try to grab him; he will grab you. Just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust."

…..and the related snippet....from a very favorite author of mine...Max Lucado, in his book, When God Whispers Your Name.  He tells the story of a game he played with his five year old daughter...leaping from the bed into his arms.  I've seen versions of this game played in my own house....participants.... my own kids and their dad.  Jump from a high step......jump from the top of the refrigerator.  The leap was always accompanied by shouts and gleeful giggling.

They played a variation of this game sometimes.  He tossed them in the air...they soared to great heights. Way. Up. There.  There were a few close calls but he always caught them.  They loved it.  Me....not so much.

But I digress.

Max sums up how we can learn to have the faith of a little child in the trustworthiness of our Father's arms and be assured of His ability to always catch us.....


Part of the answer can be found in Sara’s little leaps of faith. Her older sister, Andrea, was in the room watching, and I asked Sara if she would jump to Andrea. Sara refused. I tried to convince her. She wouldn’t budge.

“Why not?” I asked.

“I only jump to big arms.”

If we think the arms are weak, we won’t jump.  For that reason, the Father flexed His muscles. “God’s power is very great for those who believe,” Paul taught. “That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead” (Eph. 1:19—20). Next time you wonder if God can catch you, read that verse.

The very arms that defeated death are the arms awaiting you.

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