I was the Sport Psychologist for the San Antonio Spurs. It was the week of the NBA Finals and the Spurs were in. They were playing for the World Championship. In my line of work this was seen as the pinnacle of success. I was looking forward to the experience but there was a dilemma.
Six months prior, I had agreed to be the speaker at a Christian family camp in the Rockies during that week. If I kept my commitment to the camp, I would have to miss the first game.
I prayed about it and felt in my Spirit that I needed to be at family camp. So I approached the assistant general manager and let him know. We had a good relationship and he gave me his blessing.
On the third morning as I was teaching on an outdoor deck with Longs Peak looming in the background, I could feel the presence of God. There were about 12 couples attending that morning.
As I finished the session I let them know that I would be hiking up to the upper meadow and would be glad to pray and talk with anyone that would like to meet me there. The upper meadow is about 300 yards above the camp. The fields are full of mountain wildflowers and the view of the Rockies is breathtaking.
I took a seat next to a fire ring and began to pray. Soon a lone figure came walking up the trail. He was a new friend and simply said, “Two are better than one,” a reference to an Old Testament passage in Ecclesiastes. He let me know that he was going to be up in the aspens praying as well.
It wasn’t long before a middle aged couple came hiking up the trail. As they sat down it was evident the woman had been crying. The gentleman said that he had heard all this stuff before. He wanted to know how he could know for sure it was true. We talked about the concept of faith. I let him know that when you take the step of faith with Jesus, his heart would be filled with a “knowing.” He was afraid that this was all foolishness and that if he stepped off the perceived ledge with God that he would be dropped. I assured him no one since the beginning of time had been dropped. He wondered aloud if he might be the first.
The presence of God fell upon us in the mountains that day as the three of us plus my friend camouflaged up in the aspens began to pray. The tears came, the Holy Spirit entered this man, and the joy of his wife who had been praying for him for years was incalculable as Kent asked Jesus to be the Lord of his life. As we opened our eyes, Kent looked deep into mine and said, “I know now.” Jesus had indeed put a knowing in his heart instantaneously.
I left them alone to embrace and talk and celebrate. They would indeed spend eternity together. Making my way across the meadow of wild daisies and columbines a deep sense of peace and purpose covered me. Witnessing someone cross from death to life is the true sweet spot in this life.
And then the attack out of nowhere emerged. The thought came and it came loudly: “What are you doing here? Tonight is the first game of the World Championships. It is what you have dreamed of. You should be there. You have made a big mistake.” I knew it was the voice of the enemy attempting to ruin this defining moment.
But then the voice of God spoke louder shattering the insidious coercion of the enemy. I heard God say, “David, the score of tonight’s game will be forgotten by most within a matter of days; what just happened in the upper meadow will be celebrated in heaven for eternity. And what a celebration it is.”
Ten days later I was on the floor of the stadium, standing in front of the stage where the San Antonio Spurs were being crowned as the new World Champions. David Robinson and Tim Duncan were holding the trophy while We are the Champions was being blared from the rafters for the hundredth time. Fireworks were exploding, confetti was falling like heavy rain and the crowd was loud and raucous in the smoke filled arena. The celebration was unreal. It was like nothing I have ever witnessed. The place was rocking.
And then in the midst of all of that it got very quiet in my mind, almost as though I was watching this on TV and the sound was slowly turned down. Then in the quietness of my mind I heard clearly the voice of the Almighty whisper these words: “It doesn’t compare—this doesn’t compare to the celebration in heaven for what took place in the upper meadow of Wind River Ranch last week.”
I am in awe of a God that speaks truth through experience, so clearly and precisely. What a privilege to experience the ultimate in human celebration and in that moment being told there is more.