“11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:11-13)
The young man, all decked out in his baseball uniform with #7 on his back, matching socks, shiny cleats, batting helmet on straight, favorite bat in his hands with matching batting gloves … seemed ready while waiting in the on-deck circle to step up to the plate.
Practice swinging at every pitch as it was being delivered to the teammate already in the batter’s box, to try and get his timing down.
This young man was ready … he was confident … he knew what he needed to do … he just had to wait! Waiting can be hard, can’t it? And most especially when you have made all the preparations, as this young boy had done.
And then, the umpire motioned to him and said, “Batter up!” He walked up confidently to the plate … scratched around with his cleats to make himself comfortable in the box … took a deep breath … looked at his coach on third … and then took a glance at the pitcher.
It was time … time to do what he was prepared for doing … what he had been training for … what he had been dreaming about … what he had watched the professionals do!
The pitcher received his signal from the catcher … nodded that he got it and moved into his windup to deliver the pitch. He threw the ball right where the catcher had set the target for.
In came the pitch … the bat in the young man’s hand moved with what seemed lightning speed … and the ball … well … the bat didn’t touch it. Instead came the pop of the ball hitting the catcher’s mitt! “STRIKE,” said the Homeplate umpire.
The young man stood still … shaking his head … his body showed shock, and disappointment … and suddenly, his confidence seemed to disappear.
But he had a good coach, one who understood the game, the rules, the difficulties of the game … a coach who knew his players well … and he understood the emotion of the moment.
This coach … well … he had played the game himself! He called for a timeout and motioned for the young man to meet him down the sideline.
The coach looked into the eyes of the young man … he saw the hurt … he saw the disappointment … he saw the signs of fear … fear of not hitting the ball … the fear of disappointing his teammates and his family.
Coach put his hand on the young man’s shoulder … “you ok?” … the young man was hesitant to answer. The coach said, “Don’t worry about that last pitch … you know what to do …and just walk up there, keep your eye on the ball and give it a rip!”
And he did … all the way to the fence … and standing up at second base … two runs batted in … his team cheering along with their families. This was one of those ‘memory moments’ to cherish.
Life in many respects is like a waiting game … and while we wait, we strive to become more confident in every aspect of our lives. And, of course, the most important of preparations in life concerns the spiritual.
The time comes all too quickly … when it is our turn to participate … to face the challenges of life and living. We do not always get a hit … sometimes we strike out or fly out … drop a ball … make an error that can sometimes prove to be very costly.
No … we don’t always win in the daily game of life. We make mistakes … we lose our focus … we falter and sometimes just flat out fail!
But it does not have to end that way. If there is life … and a tender heart … we can overcome any and every setback … but not without the Lord and the strength, comfort, admonishment, and guidance He alone can give. (2 Peter 1:3)
Doubt is not a Christian’s friend … and we must be vigilant when the first tremors of doubt begin to creep into our thoughts.
It goes without saying, but it will be said anyway … that if we reach the end of our lives which is inevitable (Hebrews 9:27) or the Lord returns (2 Corinthians 5:10) … if we find that we have missed the eternal rest found only in Heaven … then we will discover what real failure is!
You may have never played the game of baseball … but you are a participant in the game of life … and everyone wins or loses … there are no ties … no postponements for weather or anything else!
The apostle John penned by inspiration the Gospel of John to help people understand and find eternal life found only in Jesus Christ. (John 20:31)
The apostle John then penned by inspiration the Book of First John to show and tell us how to be sure we have been “born again” and that “eternal life” can, in fact, be ours … but on God’s terms, not man’s!
So my brother or sister in Christ, when you’ve taken a swing at life and missed it … just ask the Lord to forgive you … walk back up to the plate of life … keep your eyes focused on the One who loves you … died for you … shed his blood so that your sins have been forgiven … and remember “… but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”(Philippians 3:13, 14)
And then ‘take another rip at doing it the right way!’
“For this reason, I also suffer these things; nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded, (“convinced” “absolutely sure” “perfectly certain”)” that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.