A Ball in God's Court

March 2015

I am no cricket fan. The last time I watched a cricket match was a decade ago. I don't understand all the rules, nor do I care... 

... but last night I found myself glued to the TV watching the Black Caps (NZ cricket team) play against South Africa in the World Cup semi final. Somehow I understood enough about the basic rules to realise it was a nail-biting and stressful game.

South Africa (SA) batted first. Due to rain earlier in the day, they only managed 43 overs out of the normal 50. SA scored 297 runs (for 5) for 43 overs (6 balls per over). NZ needed 298 runs to win for the same number of overs, or 297 runs to draw - both of which would get them through to the World Cup Final (as NZ did very well in their grouping).

As time went by, it became clear that NZ would need a miracle to win. The number of balls left to play was reducing at a more rapid rate than the number of runs gained. There were very few balls going to the boundary (worth 4 runs) and even fewer going over the boundary (worth 6 runs). So I started to pray to God, saying,

"Lord, please help NZ win this match. I know there are more important things in the world to pray about, but you are a God who is bigger than everything.. and I can come to you with anything in Jesus name, however big or small, even this cricket match. Lord, NZ cannot win without you, they need your HAND and your FAVOUR, but if you chose not to help NZ win, I will still praise you for you are a God who is faithful and good!

And so... it came down to 6 runs needed for 3 balls. NZ managed to score 1 risky run, so now it was 5 runs needed for 2 balls. I ramped up my prayer fervently and then suddenly, Grant Elliott (NZ Black Cap) batted a ball over the boundary (worth 6 runs) which more than met the required 5 runs. NZ won!!! 

The crowd went crazy, people were shouting and rejoicing in shock (if that was possible). SA was devastated and my heart went out to them also (as someone had to lose). Grant Elliott was hailed NZ's hero (the man of the match), but I knew only too well that it was my Father in heaven who made it all happen. 

This is not the first time God answered prayers about sport. He was just as responsive about tennis and football in the past. So this story is:
  • to give Him ALL the glory;
  • and to confirm and encourage that we can come to God with anything whatsoever. Even in knowing this, we often come to Him feeling bad that what we are asking for is perhaps too big, or too small, or too trivial for Him. As we can see, nothing is beyond God's ability or care ... He would even intervene in a world-news worthy event, if only we ask! He hears and He will answer in the way He thinks best. 
Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Here's the final moments of that game: