Believe it or not I have the distinction of holding a record in my High School’s baseball record books, or at least I did at one time. I have not really bragged about it or even researched to see if I still have the record. I bet I do because I set the bar pretty high in one unforgettable baseball game. Apparently I made five errors in one game. I was so in “the zone” that I cannot even recall the momentous event, or maybe I just blacked out. What really makes this feat even more remarkable is that I did it in five innings. Let me explain our team…
First of all we had a real disadvantage, it was our uniforms – they were bright yellow pants with bright yellow jerseys and socks. Accent this ensemble with white shoes and we were a team hard to take seriously from the time we got off of the bus. Our mascot name was actually the Golden Eagles but we looked more like the Tweety Birds. Combining this with a distinctive lack of talent made getting off the bus and warming up too often the high point of our game.
In High School baseball there is this mercy rule where if you are behind by ten or more runs after five innings the umpires called the game early. I think umpires lined up to officiate our games because inevitably they could be home, showered and sitting at the dinner table while their colleagues were still calling balls and strikes under the lights at any other school in the area. Without this rule only God knows how high I could have set the record – I could have been a household name! Legend has it from our memory impaired first basemen that one error was actually a throw that went over his head, over the dugout, out into the parking lot only to hit the team school bus. Knowing what grades he got in school it appears that he does not get close to everything right so this is undoubtedly just a myth.
The thing is – we wanted to be a good baseball team, to actually hit the ball out of the infield on occasion, to throw a strike more consistently or experience playing seven innings in the same game. It was easy to get discouraged thinking we were worthless and incapable of doing anything right. It could have been easy for us to become defined by our shortcomings, failures and embarrassing losses. Frankly, as much as I loved playing High school baseball I was glad that season was over. It was a disappointing season to say the least and would have been easy to get stuck there in the lowest point of my athletic achievement – to quit sports and stick to being a spectator for life.
We have to battle allowing ourselves to become defined by our shortcomings, failures or the lowest points in our lives. Often we get stuck at the pain of relationships we have blown or in the ramifications of destructive habits that we callously pursued. We may stay embarrassed by failures causing us to hesitate before trying anything new again. We muck around in the crud of our lowest point disallowing the fulfillment of our God-given potentials. We shrink back from taking chances, trusting or using our talents for anything else. This is the devils strategy – keeping people down, bitter and timid pushing us into being spectators in life.
God is all about redeeming us from the worst the world has to offer. It does not matter if we have failed miserably on our own or if we have been beaten down by circumstance, other’s sins and cruelty beyond our control. Sometimes we just lose hope and it is just too much work to move on by ourselves. God does not want us on the sidelines wasting our talents and failing to live up to the potential He has built into us. The Bible is chocked full of abject failures. From Adam and Eve’s apple craving through Noah’s incident with too much vino, Moses’ abuse of power and Abraham’s problem of telling little lies or …
God’s greatest saints failed and were redeemed for incredible use for Him. You can be too by allowing God’s power to work through you moving you from the point of “stuck.” “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ…Hebrews 13:20-21. Truthfully in baseball, my worst day as a player was vastly better than my best day ever as a spectator – even more so in God’s game.
This weekly devotion is written by John Key