Ping Pong is a very interesting and exciting game. To play this game you need a table, a net, lots of ping pong balls and paddles. The object of this game is simple: to win points by making your opponents miss the incoming ball, or for them to hit it out of bounds (beyond the table).
As a sport or recreational activity, Ping Pong is great, but it is a very poor and detrimental tool for marriage conflict resolution.
Many years ago, my wife and I played verbal “Ping Pong.” If she would criticize me for anything, I would pick up my “paddle” and return the criticism “ball” back to her. This was only the beginning of our Ping Pong arguing game. The criticisms and attacks would grow stronger and louder, followed by silence, resentment and isolation.
It was not until we put our paddles down that effective and loving communication began to take place. It was a hard process, but it was worth all the effort, the tears and the pain because at the end we found out that we were now able to talk heart to heart.
The first ever Ping Pong “players” were Adam and Eve. When they were confronted by God, they blamed each other and even blamed God (Genesis 3:11-13). Since that day, countless couples have played the blame (Ping Pong) game; a game in which there are no winners or champions, only losers.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness” (Proverbs 15:1-2).
Oh, how many divorces could be avoided if we would just learn to speak “softly” to each other! It is better to lose an argument, than to destroy the relationship. Marriages and all other relationships grow in a nurturing and loving environment.
The reason why many marriages end up in divorce is because they have played a game with no referee. Marriage is not the union of two, but the union of three: Jesus, you and your spouse. If Jesus is the Mediator of your marriage, you can be sure of success. The closer that you and your spouse walk with Jesus, the closer you will be with one another.
Please put the paddle down! Stop winning arguments and start winning at the game of real love and commitment. Pattern your marriage and all other relationships on the blueprint of 1 Corinthians 13. Speak the truth to each other, but do so in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Paul admonished us to “…avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife” (2 timothy 2:23). There is a blessing for those that abandon the paddle: “It is honorable for a man to stop striving…any fool can start a quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3).
Clouds are usually associated with negative things or events. There are even a few expressions that clearly connect clouds with bad or evil things such as:
“He is under a cloud of suspicion”
“He is clouding the issue”
“A cloud hangs over you”
There are other expressions similar to these, but you get the point. A cloudy day is usually considered horrible, while a sunny day is wonderful. I agree that a day filled with sunshine is more desirable, especially for outdoor activities; but clouds are important and necessary.
Clouds give us much needed shade in hot days. Clouds also carry the blessed raindrops that fall on the dry ground and gives life to plants, animals and humans alike. You could say that the rain is like kisses of love from heaven.
In the Bible, clouds have a preeminent place.
Noah saw a sign of God’s covenant in a cloud
“I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.” (Genesis 9:13)
The Israelites were guided and protected by a cloud
“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.” (Exodus 13:21)
Jesus ascended to heaven in a cloud
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)
The Rapture of the church will be in the clouds
“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
Our Lord will return in the clouds
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)
So you see, my beloved, being under a cloud is not a bad thing after all. Clouds are vehicles of manifold blessings. Clouds bring the much needed rain and clouds will bring our Lord and Savior very soon. Look up and praise God for all his creation and especially for the clouds.
I pray that some of us will be alive on that blessed and glorious day, when a lowly cloud will usher the King of kings as He comes to rapture his church. Come soon Lord Jesus!