I like the game of baseball. Since my days of playing softball in the Chain O’Lakes country school yard, to neighborhood games, to following the Atlanta Braves since my youth, I enjoy baseball.
It is that time of year. From the time of spring training forward professional baseball players always have their eyes on October. This weekend I watched the grit and determination of the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles. Repeatedly I saw the camera pull a close up of the baseball in the pitcher’s hand. The ball is behind the pitcher’s back, and he rolls is around and around, feeling for the seams. Often the baseball is a new ball, yet the baseball is a familiar object in his skillful hand. When the pitcher and the catcher agree on the next pitch, the ball is brought forward, tucked into the pitcher’s glove, grasped exactly where he wants it, and quickly the pitcher goes into his stretch, and lets it go with speed and accuracy.
Some pitchers are known as groundball pitchers. They effectively pitch the ball in such a way as to cause a groundball rather than a potential homerun. Many skillful batters study hours of pregame tapes of the pitcher they are facing. They learn to read the pitcher’s stance, so that they will not be surprised when that ball comes at them at 90+ miles per hour. Then the batter spends countless hours in a batting cage and with a batting coach. Sometimes just moving a hand position a half inch makes a difference in the swing and hitting ability.
The ability of the pitcher, batter, and the fielding ability of all the positions put together makes up a successful team. It takes all of them. No one player should have to carry the weight of the whole game. Sometimes a manager will keep a player in position because of his fielding ability while his batting average will look dismal. A fielding error can cause a loss. Well-rounded players are sought with many numbers on the contract.
Now, back to the baseball itself and not the game. The pitcher knows how to grasp that baseball in a special technique that will create the best pitch possible for a particular situation. They know the baseball. Last night as I watched two ace pitchers and the ball deftly circling in their hands, it occurred to me that I need to know God even as that pitcher knows the baseball. I have known God, in His three persons, for a long time. I came to know Christ as my Savior in 1960. In those 54 years since, I have never turned my back on Him. What’s really important is that He has never turned His back on me. Struggles have come and gone and will come again, yet, I know Him, and He knows me. He knows my every thought and better, He can control my thoughts if I trust Him for that.
When TBS repeatedly put that close up shot of the baseball in the pitcher’s hand, I developed a stronger desire yet, to know, to love, to handle effectively the Word of Life. The life I live is not mine alone. I do not live just unto myself. I am on a team. You are on a team. We do not live for October as the baseball players do, we live in light of eternity.