But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.... But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
You may have seen it yourself. There were only a few seconds left on the clock, probably time for just one more shot, when Chris Webber called time out. It was the NCAA championship game, the equivalent of the world series of college basketball. Webber was a powerful, experienced player, one of the best in college basketball. He took the ball and charged towards the basket when he found himself boxed in a corner with two players guarding him. That's when he called for time out.
The big problem was that there were no more "time outs" for his team. To win, his team had to score in the next few seconds. Calling time out was a fatal mistake, which Chris Webber undoubtedly will painfully remember for the rest of his life, but life went on after that mistake. It may have cost a championship game but it didn’t cost a life. He still succeeded, and now has a career.
I've been thinking that when life has you boxed in a corner, and you desperately want to call for time out, there are situations when, if you don't have a game plan and know what you are going to do before they swarm all over you, you are in just as much trouble as our friend Webber. That's part of the reason that discipline and training are so necessary. In the military, procedures are practiced time and time again so when the crisis comes, you instinctively do the right thing--the thing that will protect you--and you do it without thinking.
I've been with some people who wanted to call "time out" to rethink their futures, but there wasn't the opportunity or the time to do it. Some were on hospital beds, having been the victim of a drunk driver. Some were in the corner financially, and they suddenly said, "God, get me out of this mess! I'm in trouble and I need a miracle right now!" Others had ignored the signs that told them a marriage was going bad and they ignored it until disaster was knocking on the door. It was too late for a time out.
I've noticed recently that scores of people have become disillusioned and disappointed with God over certain things which happened to them. Not having decided ahead of time how to cope with difficulty, when the crisis came, they wanted to call "time out," but the clock kept running. The game whistle blew, and they lost. So they blame God! It's His fault. Or, is it?
Webber knew the rules. He just forgot. That's understandable in the excitement of a game, but when it comes to life and our understanding of God, it is amazing how many of us don't know the rules. We have Bibles which tell us how to play the game of life, yet we seldom read them.
We think of God as a gracious Father who will bend the rules when we ask and give us all the "time outs" we request even if it means putting issues of life and death on hold. You need to decide ahead of time that as for you and your house, you will serve God. Then, do it. This means commitment. It also has to include a knowledge of right and wrong, knowing what the rules of the game really are. I've seen more than a few who prayed for "time out" on a death bed, or when bankruptcy was looming, or a marriage was on the rocks, but the clock was running. And it was too late. When you are boxed in the corner, to win you've got to know ahead of time what to do, and do it instinctively.
God is a gracious and loving Father, but to everything there is a time and a season, and when time's up, He's not only the Father, He's the timekeeper as well. To everything there is a time and a season. And right now, my time is up.
Resource reading: Psalm 77:1-12.