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Step up to the plate

  • Proverbs 16:3: Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

    When I was a kid, my Mom signed me up for little league. I was short, chubby, slow, and didn’t understand why if the baseball went past me while I was batting, that it may or may not be called a strike. I thought that I had to swing and miss in order for it to be a strike. I learned quickly. 

    I learned a lot that summer, and I happened to be on one of the best teams in the league. The captain of my team stuck me in left field and just prayed nobody could hit it passed the really good third baseman we had on the team. 

    Our team, the Little River Braves made it all the way to the championship game and it was tight. Back and forth it went. We got to the last inning and the Twin Lakes Expos were winning by one run.  We had two base runners, two outs, and I was up! Now when everyone on my team saw that it was me with the over-sized helmet constantly sliding down to impair my vision, there was a collective sigh. Maybe even some tears. On the other side, the team in the outfield struck their fists to their gloves and had a real pep in their step. They knew I was an easy out. 

    On the mound stood Harry Meek. Harry was a good foot taller than all the rest of us, and certainly the only one with facial hair. He threw heat, and most of the time, it would be difficult to even see the ball. 

    I came up to the plate, the sounds of taunting and chants in the background that were less than encouraging toward my arrival. The catcher was subtly discouraging and the first pitch hit his glove and it sounded like a heavy snap. I didn’t even make an attempt to hit that pitch. I could feel my face turn red and I had all but given up. I looked at Harry, and all the faces staring at me. I had nothing to lose. Everyone had already decided that this game was over and that I was an easy out. So, I felt the desire to just take a deep breath, and as the pitch was released, I stuck out my bat, closed my eyes, and that ball hit my bat so hard that it went right down the first base line and into the wood on a roll. I was so shocked that I almost forgot to run, and it didn’t much matter because the other two boys rounded third almost at the same time and came in to score. We won the championship game right there and then, and I went from zero to hero in a blink of an eye. Every other year, I was the captain of the team, and I hit home runs almost every at bat from there on out, because I know what it felt like. Things slowed down for me in the middle of what I found to be the scary time. I realized that I had nothing to lose, and when we commit ourselves to needing some help that is beyond our own ability, that we just get it. It just happens when we are at the end of our ability and still stand up there facing an adversary with nothing to lose. You see Harry Meek would probably have struck me out 99 out of 100 times, but he didn’t that day. 

    Whatever you face today, commit it to the Lord, step up to the plate, and if you can’t muster a full swing, stick your bat out there and let Jesus make that connection count. 

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