When you’re raising children, there is one possession you must protect at all costs. It’s not what you think…it’s the needle for your air pump. When there are kids in the house who want to play ball – soccer, basketball, football – if it rolls or bounces, you’re going to need to keep it pumped up. It’s uncanny, but every time you need a ball, it will be flat.

Finding a flat ball means you have to begin the “Sherlock Holmes-like” quest to find the pump needle. Who had it last? Who saw it last? Why didn’t you put it back where it’s supposed to go? You can’t play ball until you find the needle and pump up the ball. A basketball bounces best when pumped up to 8.5 pounds of pressure per square inch. A soccer ball needs between 8.5 and 15.6 psi, and a football is best between 12.5 and 13.5 psi (NFL).

But who carries a gauge with them? No one. So, everybody I know, when they are finished pumping up the ball, will bounce it, kick it, and throw it around. Does the ball feel right? Does it have enough air? Does it have too much air? It’s not a scientific result, but everyone has to agree the ball “just feels right”.

Simply put, is the ball resilient enough to play the game? That’s the only thing we want to know. Can the ball take it when we start to play? When you bounce the ball, will the ball bounce back?

That seems to be the same question life is asking us, all of us, right now. If life bounces us around, will we bounce back? And right now, life is bouncing us around pretty good. Some areas of our life will never be the same after this. Recent reports have said as much as 25% of restaurants won’t reopen after the quarantine and social distancing requirements have been lifted.

I’m getting the feeling it’s going to be that way in every area of our lives. We seem to be losing about 25% of everything. Local stores, local eateries, local entertainment – some of it just won’t be able to bounce back.

How about you? How about your family? Will you bounce back? Are you resilient enough, like a good soccer ball, to stay in the game once someone kicks from one end of the field to the other?

Well, that depends.

And what does it depend on? What you’ve been putting in your life before you get kicked. Here’s the hard truth. We live in one of three places: we are either in the storm, just coming out of a storm, or about to go into a storm. That’s it. How we get through the moments of challenge depends on what we do in those moments of quiet between the storms of our lives.

You hear it all of the time. If you attend church at all, you’ve heard someone talk about the necessity of private worship and private Bible study. These ancient spiritual practices are talked about like they are merit badges to be earned by the super-spiritual among us. We’re never told the hard truth – these are the things we have to do to keep our soul’s psi where it needs to be so we’ll bounce back when life kicks us.

And it will kick us.

Worship is the moment when we realize the universe doesn’t depend on us. The sun will come up in the morning and not ask our permission, and it will set in the evening without ever explaining one thing to us. There is a God in heaven who rules from His throne. Worship is that moment when the bigness of God fills our souls and swells our lives to their maximum limits. “Christ in you,” according to the Apostle Paul, is the great mystery of God that is now being revealed to us. Our soul swells with every hymn of worship and whisper of praise.

And when our lives get too full of God, we use that overflow to serve each other. As hard as your day has been, someone around you has it harder. Give them a call. Have a cup of coffee with them. Buy them groceries. Pay their light bill. Do it just because you can. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the answers, and truthfully, your friend isn’t expecting any answers. Most of the time, they know there aren’t any answers to some of the mysteries of life we deal with.

Here’s the only thing they want to know – will you walk with me? It seems we fear loneliness more than anything else in life. If I just know I have a friend who’s there for me, then, I will be OK.

Walking with a friend fills your soul to your max psi.

So, let me ask you again. When life kicks you – and it will – will you bounce back? Are you resilient enough to stay in the game?

That depends on what you’re filling your life with right now. When you get kicked, there won’t be time to get filled up. Flat balls don’t bounce.

Neither do flat souls.