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“So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together.” Matthew 19:6
Anyone involved with a professional athlete knows the meaning of a long-distance relationship. I remember being newly married and finding out we could not afford for me to attend spring training with my new husband. I was devastated and I cried my eyes out. As he flew away to spend the next few months far from home I was filled with every negative emotion; bitterness, loneliness, anger, regret, fear, jealousy and mistrust. I couldn’t believe that the warm body beside me at night was going to be my dog more often than my husband! When we spoke on the phone most nights, he would be at dinner with the guys or lounging in the hotel. I, on the other hand, was by myself with a bowl of leftovers and Lifetime television.
The early seasons of baseball were quite a transition for us. We struggled together through trades, moving, promotions, demotions and job losses. Every day we were slowly peeling back our own unique and sometimes selfish personalities, layer by layer like an onion. It was often a tear filled experience that was uncomfortable for us both. And the distance apart from each other made it worse.
More than five years later, we are still together. I know now, that I had no reason to react the way I did in the early years. I married a quiet Christian man who is honorable, trustworthy, hardworking, and gentle. In the beginning it was difficult for me to see that my husband was simply doing his job. He was trying to provide for his new wife, following the path that God had set before him. He was learning to adjust to his own new feelings and pressures and I failed to consider that he was going through the same emotional warfare that I was!
Long distance relationships will do that to you. Not being close to the one you love drives a wedge of distance that can be filled with all manner of negative things: harmful words, unfaithful actions, ill-placed thoughts, self-doubt, and self-destruction. Satan loves to water those negative things until they grow so big that they consume and choke out everything else.
What my husband and I came to realize was simply that when we were together we were healthier, in all aspects of our relationship. Together, the negative things growing in the wedge of distance simply did not have time to flourish. Oh, they reared their ugly heads from time to time, but they didn’t live very long in our new healthy environment. By earnestly setting aside time to talk on the phone during road trips and moving heaven and earth so we could spend the seasons together, our hearts were happier, our meltdowns less earth shattering, our careers more productive and our relationship with each other and Christ much deeper. Being with the one we loved was healthiest. In fact, even the Bible states in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him.” We were created to be together.
Just as we find it is unhealthy to be away from the one we love on earth, it is even unhealthier to be away from the one who loves us in heaven. We, in-fact, were created first for Christ! And distance away from Christ leaves a dangerous wedge that Satan can fill with feelings of doubt, fear, anxiety and self-destruction. It is no coincidence that the Bible reminds us, “The Lord is near to all who call upon him.” God knows that a long-distance relationship with him means more room for sin. It is that contact with our Savior, that constant communication through prayer, that draws us nearer to Him and keeps us healthy.
Whether it is our husband’s strong voice on the phone that makes it okay to go to sleep, or the peaceful feeling granted by a divine hand when we kneel in earnest prayer, we need each other. We were designed that way and we must work each day to make it so.
Christ understands that it isn’t always possible to avoid a long-distance relationship with those here on earth, but he makes it possible so we never have to have a long-distance relationship with Him in Heaven. Thanks be to God!
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you that I never have to be separated from the love you give. Amen.
Suggested Reading: Romans 8:38
– Kim Rundles for Baseball Chapel
(Shared with permission from BaseballChapel.org.)