Monday, August 02, 2004

God...the best pitcher ever.

I've never been good at baseball (however, I love softball) I always had a hard time in the batter's box. That ball just comes so fast at me that I'm usually swinging just about the time that it hits the catcher's mit.

Great pitchers keep batters on their toes. The batters have to be ready for anything because "anything" is just about what they get from a great pitcher. One pitch may zing by them leaving them swinging at the air and then the next floats in making the hitter just about kill himself keeping from swinging early.

Then there is the curve ball. There are many variations on this type of pitch, but all of them have the same intention. It looks like a normal pitch at first and does something strange, something that you were not expecting. Maybe you thought this pitch was going to come straight in and then suddenly (just about the time you see the laces on the ball spinning wildly) it takes a turn on you and leaves you...swinging at air...again. Another time you see it coming in and at the last second the bottom drops out of it and you are again...swinging at air.

Earthly analogies about God usually come up short as I am sure this one will, but they can still be useful. I think God has one unbelievable curveball (as well as knuckleball, split-fingered fastball, get the point) and can wield it at will. Why would he do that?

We are dependent on God and we do our best work and serve him best when we submit to that dependency. God knows EXACTLY where the pitch is going to land and EXACTLY what path it's going to travel on it's way.

One thing that's really different between God and a pitcher is the intended outcome. A baseball pitcher's goal is to strike you out (or make you hit the ball in a place the team can manage it). If the pitcher had his way, you would constantly be on your toes and never have an opportunity to hit the ball well.

The other thing that's different is that a pitcher is not on your side, he is on the other team and has no intention in helping you hit the ball. God, on the other hand, not only pitches the ball your way, he helps you hit it if - if you let him. He is still going to throw you curve balls, but (here's the tough part) they really aren't curve balls, you just think they are!

You were moving right along, going about your business, thinking that tomorrow will be pretty much like today, but God has other plans (curve ball). Now, this is only a curve ball because it's doing something that you had not planned, not anticipated, not foreseen(...not wanted?). You think you have it all planned out, you have YOUR daily planner, YOUR plans for tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month, next year...and then God clues you in on what HIS plans are for you. Sometimes those plans fit in with yours and sometimes they do not, the question is are you going to submit to HIS plans or hang on to YOURS?

Often, submitting to God's plans involves humility. "I had it wrong", "That's not what I would have done", "Is this really what I'm supposed to do?", "I really wanted to do this other thing."

Peter thought his calling was fishing - wrong.
Paul thought his was killing Christians - wrong.
Jonah thought his was preaching to those HE wanted to - wrong.
Moses thought his was shepherding sheep - wrong.

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"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18