Back in my days of junior high and high school, P.E. was a required class. Physical Education. I don’t remember any instruction on diet or exercise, physiology or kinesiology. We were made to walk or run around the track and sometimes run bleachers; on bad weather days we played dodgeball in the gym (a cruel game, in my opinion). When spring came with its sunny days and warm temperatures, we played baseball. Actually, the girls played slow pitch softball. I was an average player. I could hit the ball more times than I missed, and I was a faster base runner than most. But I couldn’t catch. I was scared of the ball and never got comfortable with the glove. I also threw like a girl…a girly-girl.
Obviously curve balls were not a part of our game. From what I’ve read, curve balls are a difficult skill for a pitcher to master, and of course, hard for the batter to hit. The batter is up with his eye on the ball, and just when ready to swing, the ball takes an unexpected dive and a strike is the result. I’m sure there are baseball players that can hit curve balls, but in my simple google search, I didn’t find any. They must be few and far between. Preparation for a game with a skilled pitcher involves observing the way he moves with every pitch in an effort to identify when the curve ball is on its way. When a player does get a hit on a curve ball, they know in just a few seconds if it was a good hit or a foul.
Life has just thrown me a curve ball. I understand this kind of curve ball more than the kind in baseball. Wikipedia defines it as “a significant deviation to a preceding concept”. Although aware of the pitcher and his moves, it still caught me by surprise and this curve ball was a game changer! It has redirected my life in a significant way, requiring some major adjustments.
The timing in life’s curve balls is vastly different from that in a baseball game. When life pitches a “deviation” our way, we will know in a few seconds if we have a hit or a strike! Our reactions in the first few moments either have the potential for success or failure. When our first response to an “unexpected dive” in our circumstances is to lash out at another, or grumble and complain from a bad attitude, it’s a strike. However, in this game of life, we can experience numerous strikes and still not be out of the game. When the pitch comes and we connect with the ball, we will know very quickly if it was a good hit or a foul. We may initially respond appropriately to what has just come our way, but when our faith begins to weaken our attitude will take us off course, and it’s a foul.
When we respond to life’s curve balls by taking our stand in faith, it’s a hit. Here’s where the timing changes significantly. As long as we plant our feet and stay in faith, we get to watch that ball keep flying. We can keep running the bases until it’s a home run. This may not happen in a few seconds, hours, days, weeks…..maybe even years! But we are guaranteed a win if we don’t give up!
So what is the right response when life has thrown your plans off? When things are not going as expected? When your life is changing and there is nothing you can do to stop what’s happening?
“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfectly and fully developed, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Seriously?? Be joyful when trials come? It is a choice we get to make, and when we go to God and ask Him how to be joyful in the midst of difficulties, He is faithful to show us and help us. When we are committed to staying in faith – keeping our joy during times of pressure – it strengthens us to be able to endure patiently! When we endure, a thorough work is done in us and we become developed in maturity and we will lack nothing we need!!
Now that’s a home run!