I had a great time this past Saturday at the Yankee-Red Sox game with my daughter Ashley and my two grandsons, Ethan and Tyler. It was a perfect day for a baseball game and being a Red Sox fan; I enjoyed watching the Red Sox beat the Yanks, 10-5. It was an enjoyable afternoon indeed. It has been special to share the rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox with my grandsons, and I hope to convert them to become Red Sox fans even they live in Michigan. But one of the most surprising things about this Saturday’s game is the section that we were sitting in (433) was alcohol- free section. I didn’t even know that the Yankees had alcohol-free seating sections and this is probably the only one in the stadium. What surprised me and many of the people who were coming into the section to be seated with their beers in hand was that it was not on our tickets that it was indeed an alcohol-free section. I wasn’t bothered a bit as I am not a drinker, but many of the people coming in were very upset when told they needed to go down into the hallway to finish their drinks before they could be seated. My daughter Ashley had noticed the sign when we were approaching the section, but I had not seen any indications that this was an alcohol-free section. Apparently, neither had most people who were bringing their beers in with them to their seats. I asked the usher who I was sitting right by why the tickets did not state that this was an alcohol-free zone. He responded, “Some of the tickets are marked, and some aren’t.” I said to him, “That sure makes your job a lot harder.” Some of the people were not at all happy. Personally, I was kind of glad because I didn’t have any obnoxious, drunken Yankee fans sitting by me.
Even as I was sitting there, I began to reflect on how the Yankees had let down their fans by not providing them the atmosphere they thought they were going to have to enjoy the Yankee game with their beers. I began thinking about how the things of this world and the things that we put our trust in will almost always disappoint us. And then I started to think about how awesome our God is who has promised to be a present help in time of need. Jesus is always with us, even in the midst of our trials and difficulties. How is Jesus with us? Jesus was with his disciples physically until He went up into heaven and now He is present with us through the presence of the Holy Spirit working in and through lives events. The Holy Spirit would be Jesus’s presence with the disciples that would never leave them. The Holy Spirit still indwells us today, and in Jesus’ last recorded words in Matthew’s gospel, we read, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” (Matt.28:20b NIV). There certainly will be times in our faith journey when we are disappointed and saddened by losses we may experience as we follow Jesus Christ. I don’t want to minimize those issues at all, but I also believe that God is the one who allows difficult things into our lives so that we may have a format from which to glorify Him. The writer of Ecclesiastics made a profound statement when he said, “He (that is God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end,” (Eccl. 3:11 NIV). I used to say when I get the heaven I’m going to ask God about this or that trial in my life. Now I believe that when I get to heaven, and I see the Lord Jesus Christ I won’t need to know all the answers. Just knowing that Jesus knows all the answers will be good enough for me. And yet it is in our difficulties that God shines forth His love and His life in its brightest fashion. For now, Jesus gives us many simple joys, like the love of family and friends. I see many ways that God is bringing together some loose pieces in my life and working things in the most peculiar and unusual ways to bring about fruitfulness and faithfulness. And along the journey, Jesus gives me many simple pleasures and delights in reminding me of His presence with me. I hope if you ever show up at the Yankee game and you’re sitting in the alcohol-free zone that you won’t be too disappointed. If you are a child of God just remember who is there with you and as you delight yourself in Him, He will bless you with desires of your heart.
In Christ’s matchless love,
Pastor Rich Sivo