“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
The Tether Ball, by Dale Bastian

Do you ever feel like your life is like a ball, being hit one way and then another? Recently, I was feeling this way as I reflected on the past few years of my life. As I was talking to the Lord about this, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart “You are like a tether ball.” Seeking the Lord about what He meant, I began to see a vision.

The first thing I saw was what appeared to be two boys playing tether ball. Their names were “Circumstances of Life” and “Chaotic Situations.” Their expression was a devilish sort of grin and they seemed intent on trying to hit the ball so hard as to destroy it.

Next, I noticed the rope that attached the ball to the pole. It consisted of six strands. Three of the strands were very thick, strong, and durable their entire length. The other three strands were in some places thick and strong while at other points they appeared thin, weak, and fragile. 

I then focused on the pole and saw that it had become a cross. As I watched, I noticed that blood was running down onto this cross. As this happened, the cross became a living tree, full of life and having much fruit on it. I then noticed that the rope connecting the ball to the pole had changed and looked like a pulsing vein — full of life-giving blood. The vision ended with the cord wrapped around the pole and the ball tight against the pole.
I prayed and asked the Lord for the meaning of the vision. The two boys, Circumstances of Life and Chaotic Situations, are in our lives trying their best to destroy us and to separate us from God.  Although circumstances and situations at times seem to be designed to overcome us, in God’s grand scheme, they can actually be used for our good. “
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). 

An Old Testament parallel to this verse would be from the life of Joseph. His life was an example of being hit one way and then another by circumstances and chaotic situations.  He ultimately went from dungeon to dignitary and was able to say: “
And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:5, 7–8).

Although the enemy tries to separate us from God, we are tethered to Him by the rope. The three strong and durable strands represent:

1) God’s love for us

2) His hopes and dreams for our lives

3) His faith in what we can do and accomplish in Him

These strands are forever enduring, constant, and unchanging. Nothing can sever them or cause them to deteriorate. Paul talks about this in Romans when he says,
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35–39).  The other three strands represent our love, faith, and hope in the Lord. These often fluctuate and change, not always being strong.

The pole, being a cross, represents the fact that our life is found in the shed blood of Jesus. Because of His mighty love for us, He willingly surrendered Himself to the cross. Although the cross is an instrument of death, as His blood stained the cross it became a source of eternal life for us. The cross becoming a tree of life shows that we are now able to partake of the life-giving fruits of His sacrifice. By shedding His blood on our behalf, He was affirming and re-enforcing His cord of love for us. As we partake of His love, we then have the opportunity, the privilege, even the responsibility, to reciprocate His love!

The pulsating cords that I saw represent His strands of love, faith, and hope for us that are no longer just theological concepts but are like throbbing, pulsating veins carrying blood that is full of life. 
That the vision ended with the ball against the pole illustrates that although the enemy tries to use life’s circumstances and situations to destroy us and separate us from God, in God’s plan they are designed to bring us ever closer to Himself! We need to realize that the tether of His love, hope, and faith will only allow us to get so far away from His tree of life. He will not allow us to become detached and become lost!

So, remember, dear child of God, when the harsh circumstances of life and chaotic situations hit you hard and unrelentingly,
your life is tethered to the one and only true source of life, Jesus Christ, by His powerful and enduring love. Hallelujah!

Dale Bastian is a part of Living Water Publications and attends Freeport Mennonite Church in Freeport, Illinois. With a solid biblical background, keen prophetic insight, and a compassionate heart, he brings clarity of vision and a call to become more Christ-like to the Church. Dale and his wife, Dana, live in Dakota, Illinois.

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