Take Me Out to the Ball Game

For the LORD gives wisdom . . . he holds victory in store for the upright. – Proverbs 2:6, 7 NIV

I love baseball!

I often think how guidelines to playing the game translate into wise counsel for living life victoriously. Here, in no particular order and listed as they came to me, is some of the advice I heard my husband give my son during our baseball years:

Keep alert. Be ready for that ball to come to you. Anticipate the next play. The same is true in life. Much comes bouncing, flying straight at you when you least expect it. “Stay alert,” the apostle Peter wrote, “keep a firm grip on the faith” (1 Peter 5:8 The Message).

Listen to your coach. Know the signs and heed them. He’s the coach for a reason—he knows more than you about the game and he sees what you, in your position on the field, can’t. He wants you to overcome the opponent and come out on top. In life, “trust in the LORD and do good,” (Psalm 37:3), for in heeding Him “there is great reward” (Psalm 19:11). (Don’t forget Isaiah 55:8–9.)

Back up your pitcher. Support your team members. I remember the wife of David’s Little League coach cheering for the team to “talk it up out there.” The coach didn’t want silence on the field—he wanted to hear them encouraging each other. And don’t expect the pitcher to do it all. No matter how well he’s pitching, he needs some run support from the rest of the team if they want to win the game. “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Bad calls are part of the game. There’s nothing you can do about them. Arguing, whining, and letting it affect your attitude the rest of the game won’t help you or the rest of the team. Shrug it off. Life isn’t fair, either. Forget what’s behind you and press on to what’s ahead (Philippians 3:13–14).

Rain delays are part of the game, too. Sometimes you find yourself in a waiting period. You can’t stop the rain, but you can use the time to practice patience. (Psalm 37:7, Isaiah 40:31)

You win some, and you lose some. Cut your losses, learn from them and don’t let your wins get to your head. Instead, work on your weaknesses and don’t let pride nullify what strengths you have. (Proverbs 16:18).

Training is necessary, painful, and stretches you beyond your limits. But it also builds strength and character. The difficult things you face in life are the training ground God uses shape you into the person He wants you to be. (1 Corinthians 9:24–29)

Put on your game face. Attitude can make or break you. Like the renowned catcher Yogi Bera said, “Ninety percent of the game is half-mental.” So it is in life—what you think, what goes through your mind day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute—can be the determining factor in winning or losing, in overcoming or succumbing.  (Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:8–9)

You can do a lot on two outs. “The game isn’t over until it’s over” (Yogi Bera). Or in the words of the late Winston Churchill: “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

And in the words of St. Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

 Help me, Lord, be to wise enough to heed Your guidelines. Amen.

Read and reflect on Proverbs 2:1–11.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Give Me No Bananas

Image by Juan Zelaya from Pixabay

Every day I will praise You. —Psalm 145:2 NIV

When I taught fulltime and wrote in the early morning or evening hours, I had little time and energy to do special things for my husband, such as slip a banana in his lunch box or wash the plastic container he used for cake. I was lucky to get supper on the table before 7 p.m. and the dishes stacked in the dishwasher before I went to bed or ran out of my second wind. Often he made supper and cleaned up afterward to give me time to write.

But one summer day, I decided to show my gratitude for all his hard work by slipping a banana into his lunch box. But did he appreciate my thoughtfulness? Oh, no. He complained the banana was too ripe.

“I like them almost green,” he said.

Couldn’t he have lied just a little bit? I wanted to hear “Boy, that banana hit the spot! Thanks!”

Biting back a sharp retort and stuffing the hurt, I pulled out the plastic cake container from his bucket and stacked it with the dirty dishes.

“You don’t have to wash that thing every day,” he said in a tone that made me feel like a reprimanded child. I knew he was trying to save me extra work, but I’d wanted to make him feel appreciated. Instead I got negative, negative, negative.

“Thanks for reminding me of why I stop doing little things to please you,” I muttered when he left the room.

The next day, after I’d filled my journal with two pages of anger, I opened my Bible to the day’s reading. 

“Every day I will bless thee,” I read, “and praise thy name” (Psalm 145:2). 

A heart full of anger has no room for praise.

God has a funny way of nudging me when my attitude isn’t what it should be.

I opened my journal to the entry I’d made just two days prior to my whining session when I’d filled four pages listing things I love—laundry blowing in the wind, white cotton ball clouds skimming across a summer blue sky, a soft breeze caressing my cheek, a quiet snowfall, a neon rainbow arched across a storm-studded sky, a misty morning, a blazing sunset, the blush of dawn, a field of pristine, unbroken snow….

The old hymn “Count Your Blessings” reverberated in my mind, and the anger dissipated from my heart. In light of all these priceless blessings right in front of my nose every day that don’t cost me a cent—gifts from God for me to enjoy—how trivial my reasons for being angry were!

A heart full of anger has no room for praise, but a heart full of praise has no room for anger.

With what, then, will you fill your heart? The choice is yours. Only one will bring the satisfaction and joy you crave.

When I think of all the wonders You created in the world around me and the awesome deeds You have wrought in my life, Lord God, I am humbled by Your greatness. Sometimes I forget who You are and act like a spoiled child. Forgive me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 145.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.