12 "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
Psalm 51:12 (NIV)
Athlete, I bet you’ve had career highlights. I bet you have had performances that are difficult to replicate because you were in the zone at the time.
It was my birthday, and my mom and I went to one of my favorite restaurants. I had roasted chicken penang. The chicken was smothered in a sweet and spicy Thai curry sauce with fresh basil. It was as the menu said, delicious.
But since I had a cold, I only tasted it occasionally – five seconds here, five seconds there.
Life is like that. Though the wealth and flavor of God’s salvation is always there, we can only taste it occasionally. The flavor comes and goes. The zone does too.
In Psalm 51, David asked God to grant him the ability to taste the seasoning of salvation. He would not have asked that if he had not lost his joy. On our journeys we will sometimes wish for the joy we once had too.
Rich moments propel you. Being in the zone is awesome. A potent experience of Christ’s love is moving. But those moments pass, and you find yourself in a daily humdrum existence.
So, we find ourselves echoing David. And here, begging God, we are in the right place.
The Israelites associated places and physical things to remind them of acute moments of God’s presence and deliverance when life went dry.
Those things helped them remember what they forgot too quickly: God’s faithfulness, promises and constant presence. We are the same way.
Athlete, I bet you can remember where you had the game of your life. I bet you can recall certain locations where you had potent experiences of Jesus’ love and presence.
If you are able, you might consider going to that place. There is also great power in visualization. Close your eyes and visualize that time and place. Spend a couple minutes there. What did God impress upon you? What did you walk away believing, thinking and feeling?
Those moments were from God meant for you to remember. In the Scriptures, the people of God looked back to ancient history and their personal lives in order to better look forward.
We cannot always live in the zone. We cannot always taste the flavor. But, we can remember those times.
Athlete, write a few of those places and times down. I have written six of them on the flap of a book. They reorient me.
When faced with a meal you cannot taste, recall the sweetness of those moments and know there will come a day when you will taste the full flavor of God’s kingdom.