“Hitting the Curve-Ball!”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
It is one of my first memories after moving to Van Horn Texas. My son was only 8 years old at the time, and we were at a High School baseball game. Thomas and I sat right behind the backstop of the home plate area. From that vantage point, I was telling Thomas exactly what types of pitches were being thrown. And he marveled at just how I knew that. Puffed-up with pride, I told him that it was very easy once you studied the rotation of the baseball itself!
Now, that seems impossible to those who’ve never played baseball at a higher level than Little League. Why? The pitches all look alike to them in their speed and delivery. And seeing the laces on the actual ball? You’re kidding me, right? No. I am not. Which leads me to my point in this article today. You see, to most people life goes past them way too fast. And when life throws them a “curve-ball”, they totally panic. How couldn’t they?
Returning to real-life baseball, I remember that panic of seeing a curve-ball for the first time. Now, we’re talking almost 40 years ago! That pitch looked like it was going to hit me, and so, like most other kids, I bailed out of the batter’s box. Embarrassed, I then watched the baseball cross the strike zone with the umpire calling it a strike. It was so deflating to my very fragile ego at that time!
But here was the key to overcoming the curve-ball: FOCUS. You see, with much practice and trained eyesight, I was able to see the actual laces of the baseball as it rotated! And that made all the difference. Rather than fearing that the ball was going to hit me, I could wait out the pitch to see if it was worth swinging at.
Human experience is hard. Just like facing a curve-ball. And Jesus Himself promised His own followers that. He said: “In this world you shall have tribulations.” (John 16:33). He was telling us that we will often face vicious curve-balls that seem to be heading right at us. And like the inexperienced Little Leaguer, we will just want to bail and duck for cover. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Truth be told, if you don’t have a redeemed relationship with Christ, those curve-balls will always fool you. And they might even bean you a time or two. What do I mean? Human grit by itself might give you the courage to not bail out of the metaphorical batter’s box. But if that pitch doesn’t break? Watch out! It’ll leave a mark. And so, it’s not just avoiding the fear of getting hit. You need to–with eyes of faith–see the pitch.
Folks, the object of life is not to avoid getting hit by the pitch. God actually wants us to hit the curve-ball! How? Focused faith. With true faith in Christ–and disciplined spirituality–you can actually see the laces of what is being thrown at you!
See you at the ballpark!