Bottom of the 9th - Full Armor
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6: 13-15
Ben was eight years old and had already played ball with our team for three years. He was a timid, frail, smart, little guy, whose shaggy straight hair hung over his glasses. In T-Ball and coach pitch he had rarely connected with the ball, although when he did, in the long grass infields of the littlest of little leagues, it performed more like a bunt. Benâ€™s scared, skinny little legs moved pretty fast, and it was often hard to get him out at first.
Eight year old ball players learn to meet a new and frightening addition to baseball â€“ kid pitchers! Now, if Ben turned sideways, it would take a great aim to actually hit the short narrow line that was his body, but Ben had seen enough other batters get boinked, and he was sure it would happen to him. He entered the batterâ€™s box with tears in his eyes and knees that shook so badly, that even the right fielder (who was still more interested in picking grass than catching a fly ball) could see.
Benâ€™s father approached Coach Scott with trepidation similar to Benâ€™s and expressed his feelings that his son was so frightened, he felt his coaxing to continue was bordering on abuse since he was asking his son to do something that caused so much anxiety. Scott suggested they let Ben come up with a strategy that would ease his fears. At the next game, Ben arrived wearing a helmet with face guard, elbow and knee guards suited for skateboarding, and full on ice hockey padding under his uniform. He stepped into the batter's box in his full armor with all the confidence in the world. His added bulk required that he start his swing a little earlier and put a little more muscle into it, and the results when he connected with the ball served only to fuel his new found confidence. Ben was striking out swinging for the first time in his life, and when he would meet the ball, he was arriving at first and learning the meaning of rounding first and â€œtaking a lookâ€!
Putting on the full armor of God gives us that kind of confidence, doesnâ€™t it? â€œIf God is for us, who can be against us?â€ is all it takes to let us step up to the plate and swing for the fences. No longer do we fear the unlikely things that might happen. We step forward instead of backward and take on all the world has to offer.
Lord, thank you for the armor you secure around us to make us bold to step out in your word and your world, to make a difference on your behalf.
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