My son, Ryan, has officially begun his high-school baseball career. He had his first j.v. game last Friday. It’s put me in the mood to share one of my favorite “baseball” illustrations.
At a Little League game the visiting team had already scored 21 runs and was still batting in the top of the first inning. The mother of the kid in right-field began to worry that such a staggeringly lopsided loss would demoralize her child and destroy his confidence. So she left her seat in the stands and made her way out to the right-field fence. She stood there on her side of it and yelled out to him, “Son, this has to be an awful experience for you, and I just want you to know that you don’t have to keep playing if you don’t want to. I’ll take you home right now and explain things to your coach.” The boy, however, seemed shocked by the suggestion. He simply smiled back at her and said, “But mom, we can still win this game. We haven’t come to bat yet!”
You have a choice to make as to how you approach life. You can operate with an optimistic attitude or a defeatist one. You can believe that God is up to something good in your life or that He is leading you off a cliff. The choice is yours.
As for the optimistic approach, I’m not talking about some pie-in-the-sky, “hope so” kind of thing. I’m talking about you putting your faith in a Savior who loves you enough to die on the cross for your sins and stands ready to give your life ideal meaning and purpose. I’m talking about heeding Him when He says, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). I’m talking about relating to the apostle Paul when he says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Does following Jesus mean that you will never experience any blowout defeats? Hardly. But it does mean at least two things. First, if you stay submitted to Christ’s will for your life He will keep you out of a lot of those situations that would end badly for you. Second, even when those difficult times do come along, Jesus will not only give you what you need to get through them but also use them to increase your strength and wisdom.
I don’t know where this post finds you, but perhaps you are right now guilty of bringing a defeatist attitude to the playing field. I suppose this is understandable for a person who doesn’t know Christ as Savior. After all, if I didn’t have the hope provided by Him, the state of this world would have me down in the dumps, too. But it should be different for the Christian. Our Savior wasn’t a quitter, even as battered, bloodied, and bruised He carried the cross up Calvary’s hill. None of us will ever have a worse day than that one, and yet the eternal good He accomplished through it is far too deep for our human minds to grasp. That should teach us that the hardest things we have to endure in life can produce the greatest good. And that’s why we shouldn’t quit playing even in the midst of a bad inning.