There are so many things that can happen in an at-bat. Everything changes depending on which of the 15 pitchers on the other team is pitching. Righty or lefty. Arm slot. Fastball velocity. What do they throw for offspeed? The possibilities are endless, so as a hitter, there’s no way you can prepare for everything. I believe great hitters always stick to the plan that maximizes their strengths.
For me, I sat fastball. I worked on hitting a fastball where it was pitched because I knew I would be on time with my fastball rhythm swing. I was not going to be beat by a fastball. So that meant that I was willing to take a breaking ball for a strike in order to get my fastball that I could drive. Sometimes I would fall to an 0-2 count on two straight curveballs, but I was okay with it. That was my plan. Once I got to two strikes, I would adjust into foxhole mode where I would balance up and trust my hands. When I would get a breaking ball with two strikes, I would foul it off until he walked me or made the mistake of throwing a fastball over the plate so I could drive it up the middle. It was my plan that played to my strengths. Every at bat I went up to execute my plan: Spit on breaking balls early in the count, foul them off late, hit the fastball.
As we look at Jesus in his last days, although it may be hard to believe, he was executing his plan to a T. When Judas betrayed Jesus and the mob of armed men came to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane the book of Matthew says:
“Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
These verses show that Jesus had the ability to meet force with force; that he had the ability to avoid the cross, but he chose not to. That wasn’t his plan. And when “one of his companions” decided to defend Jesus with the sword, Jesus said “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” He wasn’t saying that he was conceding defeat. Jesus was saying that his plan was still to win. But he wasn’t going to do it that way. He wasn’t going to do it by playing their game, he was going to do it by playing his.
“But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” The plan was in place, from the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane. The plan was always that the Messiah would come, be the perfect and holy sacrifice for our sin, and be buried and rise three days later to conquer death. Anyone can overpower physically. But only Jesus could overpower sin and death. So he let the cross happen to play to a strength that only he had.
Our plan in the faith needs to be the same. Don’t let the circumstances of life take you away from your plan. That means sometimes you let trials and tribulation happen just so you can stick to the plan of faith.
The plan is in place. Stick to the plan and spit on anything else.