Curve Balls and Nasty Curve Balls
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 NASB
I have two son-in-laws that love baseball. They will both affirm that is not the case with me. I love football. That being said, I do have some observations about baseball.
Fastball pitchers are essentially physically gifted, genetically predisposed to being able to hurl the ball. There comes a time in their career when their fastball is not as fast as it was. Often, you will find that fastball pitchers learn to throw curves in order to sustain their career. I recall that Maddox was not a fastball pitcher. Fast for Maddox was in the low 80 MPH range. Yet, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball with a very long career.
Fastball hitters are also physically gifted with extremely fast reflexes. But, it requires more than physical ability to hit a curve ball. It requires excellent hand and eye coordination. To hit a curve requires coaching, training, and practice. Not being able to hit the curve translated to a recent popular movie.
Life in the spiritual realm is similar to baseball. With our physical abilities, we can hit fastballs. However, life delivers curve balls which requires much more than our own personal resources. It requires coaching, training, and practice. Saying this another way, we need to learn to persevere. Sometimes, life delivers really nasty curve balls which require that we focus even more and persevere even longer.
What we do know, however, is that The Lord has empowered us with everything we need in life.
…seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:1-8 NASB)
Then, with these gifts, He reminds us of the stages of life, the sequencing of standing in His strength.
…but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 NASB)
He reminds us that He is our source of hope.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. … For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. (Romans 8:18-25 NASB)
Finally, He reminds us that we are one in Him and that we are His family.
Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6 NASB)
Being in Christ, we stand in a position of victory, not pursuing victory, but knowing that the victory is already ours. There is nothing that life can deliver that has not already been overcome in Christ.
So, spring training for baseball is right around the corner. We can count on the fact that the pitchers are honing their skills anticipating opportunities to lure the batters into striking out. In the same way, our spiritual adversaries, who have been around for multiple thousands of years, are honing their skills anticipating taking the offensive against us, the children of God, and luring us into striking out in life. However, we know that our God not only created the angels but He has complete dominion, power, and authority over all of them. So, as we step up to the plate, let’s not do so from a defensive, I-do-not-want-to-strike-out mindset, but let’s step up with with an offensive mindset planning to hit often, hit hard, and win every game in life.
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NASB)
Father God, thank you that you have equipped me with all I need in life. Thank you that you are the source of hope. Thank you that we are family. It is YOU I hinge my life upon and It is by your power that I prevail in all of life’s circumstances. Thanks be to Jesus, the Risen One.