Bottom of the 9th, #34 – Accepting the Sign


Bottom of the 9th - Accepting the Sign

Accepting the Sign

by Wade Donels

     As a loyal reader of Bottom of the 9th, I have come to fully appreciate that there are multiple parallels between the game of baseball and following our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Playing the game of baseball is extraordinarily fun, it’s rewarding, and can lead to many joyful times for those that have the courage to play the game. Following Christ and His teachings also requires courage that, when done with a persistent attitude, will also result in many joyous times during a believer’s lifetime. 

      As most ballplayers quickly realize, playing the game also brings great frustration, with many periods of personal doubt since players are often made to feel like failures.  The ability to effectively handle the adversity that comes with failing is one of the major differentiators between an average and an all-star MLB player. Batting .300 is considered to be ALL-STAR material, which of course means that the failure rate stands at .700 (70% of the time).  Following Christ in today's dark world is equally, if not more, challenging as Jesus does not promise that following Him will lead to a smooth, perfect, and glorious life here on earth.  What He does promise is far better than a perfect "earthly" life.  We must be patient for the reward of eternal life and OBEY our Lord as we prepare for the day we rest with Him in heaven. Rest assured though, feel comforted in knowing that His plans are superior to our own.

      In the book of Jeremiah, the prophet Jeremiah warns against the threats of the world, threats of false teachers and others who will deceive those that believe in the Lord. Jeremiah told his readers to guard themselves against the wicked people of that day and to trust in God and God alone.  

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,†declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

     Many people take this verse out of context and believe that if they follow God their paths will be made smooth and straight.  Jeremiah was simply saying that if we fully trust and love our God with all of our heart and soul, doing as he says, we will experience the glory of God and ultimately experience the greatest victory of all, eternal life.   

      Imagine this game situation.  It’s the bottom of the ninth and a real pitcher's duel. The score is scoreless and the home team is at the plate.  There are no outs and a speedy runner is on first base.  The three hole hitter steps into the box hoping to clear the bases to score the winning run. After all, he is the team's best hitter and their best chance to drive in the winning run. Could someone else have a different plan? 

      Down the third base line the 3rd base coach contemplates the best strategy that will win the game.  He touches his left wrist, followed by his right ear which signals that the sacrifice (SAC) bunt is ON. A successful SAC bunt moves the speedy runner into scoring position for the clean-up hitter to do his job.

      The three hole hitter in this story is similar to following Christ in today's world.  In this game situation, hitting a base clearing triple is far more glamorous than laying down a SAC bunt.  But often times in the game of baseball and in the game of life, our coach will call on us to make a sacrifice for our team, our family, or our community and follow HIS plan.  Following your coaches' bunt sign or seeking God's will first (and walking along the road He paves for you) may not seem to make sense to you, it may lead you down an uneven and rocky road that most likely will not result in immediate satisfaction; but following His plan will get you HOME as you WIN the game of life.

      What are you being called to do in your life? Is God moving you to make a bold and sacrificial decision? Is God calling you to do something radical for Him? Are you willing to obey knowing full well that the road ahead may be a rocky one?

     Watch this video and accept the challenge. 

      Take some time to step outside of the batter's box to accept the sign from your heavenly coach. Then obey the play call.

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