Remember playing baseball as a kid? I don’t mean SOFTball, I mean BASEball!
Every day during the summer, the kids in my neighborhood would meet out in the cul-de-sac to play a good ole fashion game of baseball. It was much like the movie, Sandlot, except rather than sand, we played on the asphalt. It was during this chapter of my life that I learned to not only pitch a curve ball, but I also learned to hit one. The only way to hit a curve ball is to never take your eyes off of it. You must focus on the ball in order to hit the ball.
Learning to handle curve balls is not always about baseball, though. Life is FULL of curve balls. How we handle those curve balls of life determine the people we become and the life we live.
No one is immune to life’s curve balls. They are not respecters of race, economic status, religion, gender, age, political views – EVERYONE has his/her fair share (and sometimes UNfair share) of curve balls.
Just as a major leaguer’s batting average depends on how he handles those curve balls thrown to him, our lives and how we live them depend on how we handle our curve balls.
My family has certainly had our share of curve balls. In a span of six months we had three family members die. One was murdered, one succumbed to Alzheimers, and one drowned. If those curve balls weren’t enough, each court date involving the murderers were curve balls in and of themselves.
And it isn’t just our family. An 18 year old young man in our church took his own life. The young daughter of one of our friends was run over by the daycare bus. One of the football players broke his neck during a high school football game one Friday night. The list goes on and on.
Curve balls are a part of our lives, and just like baseball players, we must learn to keep our eyes on the ball. We must also learn to keep our eyes on the Power that keeps us focused.
My Power is Jesus Christ. Only through our faith did my family survive those six months, and the subsequent years since. Our faith is the only reason we’re still standing. The only reason we continue to put one foot in front of the other, and live without those precious three people walking amongst us.
Sometimes it seems bad things come in groups. I’ve heard it said that they come in threes. For us that seemed to be the case during those awful six months.
Matthew 11:28-30 (from the Christian Standard Bible) is a Scripture that speaks to me about the curve balls in my life: Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. [The text is red because those are the words of Jesus.]
My purpose isn’t to preach or push off my faith on you. My purpose is to help you see the importance of recognizing the curve balls you receive in life and responding appropriately to them. I firmly believe faith is the key. Whether you’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Agnostic – you must believe in something/someone greater than yourself to navigate life.
You may say, “I don’t have any faith at all.” Really? You board a plane with faith it stays in the air. You take medicine prescribed by physicians with faith you’ll get well. You flip on a light switch with faith the room will be lit. You go to sleep at night with faith you’ll wake up in the morning. Really? You don’t have faith? Come on, who are you kidding?
I submit we all have faith. Figure out what yours is, and allow that faith to see you through the curve balls life will lob your way. Remember, how you respond to the curve balls determines who you really are.
See you next time,