Already Decided

Collision at Home Plate
Hebrews 11:1: Now, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

I don’t know if you follow the Nationals like I do, who this year have been a reminder of the observation that baseball can break your heart. Their play hasn’t been consistent: they leave men on base; they don’t get the hits they need; they make Little League quality throwing and catching errors; and their pitchers oscillate between brilliance and throwing gopher balls at the worst possible time. Still, I’m a loyal home town fan and have suffered through this summer. It’s not as bad as a couple of years ago when I was happy that they didn’t finish in last place.

I probably agonize a little too much about a game in which the Nats lead by six runs for most of the game and then fritter the lead away by a series of bonehead plays. Then it’s tied up, and they go into extra innings. Sometimes they pull it out; other times they lose, generally to the Braves, who have owned them this year. I shouldn’t get so emotionally involved, but it makes me sad when they lose. Conversely, there’s a spring in my step and a song in my heart the next day when they win. I know, I’m extremely lame.

Last week, the Nats won in satisfying fashion, coming from behind to take the game at the last minute. The station rebroadcasts the game the next day, and since I heard the last inning on the radio (I forget why—I think I was driving somewhere), I watched the last couple of innings of the replay to see what happened. I was the picture of serenity. I knew what was going to happen, so I didn’t worry and I was happy!

It occurred to me that this experience is something like the life of faith. God knows all and sees all, and so we need not worry about the outcome of whatever is troubling us. Scripture tells us that the great conflict between good and evil has already been won and that the victory has been won. We can live our lives with this great assurance. As Jesus says, “Be of good hope! I have overcome the world!” Thanks be to God for this great comfort for those who are his children.



Running the Race

Run the Race

I was listening to the a Washington Nationals game on the radio a while back, and the announcers were talking about the pitcher for the opposing Florida Marlins, Jose Fernandez, an All-Star this year and an ace hurler. They were talking about his coolness under pressure and how he had tried to defect from Cuba three times before he succeeded on the fourth try. The first time he was thirteen, and was sent to prison for several months with adults. During the successful attempt, his mother fell off the boat taking them to freedom. Sixteen years old, he jumped in and saved her. They made it to Mexico and then to the United States where they stayed. Fernandez’s unlikly progress to becoming a major league pitcher was chronicled in an article that appeared in the Miami Herald:

I admire Fernandez’s courage, persistence and energy. Paul wrote of the same qualities a Christian should evidence in Hebrews 1:1-3: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Amen and amen.