It’s that wonderful time of year in Oregon, when we parents and grandparents get to sit in biting wind and pouring rain to watch our children play baseball or softball. Our umbrellas may be up, their edges dripping water onto the knees of the person sitting behind us on the bleachers, and our blankets tightly wrapped around us, but those little players in the field don’t seem to be bothered much by the weather. Their attention is on the game. They are glad simply to be part of the team.
As I’ve been watching the games this year, I’ve been impressed by how much the young players have to learn. It’s not natural for most of them to have the correct stance, their hands positioned correctly on the bat. Nor is it easy to keep their eyes on the ball and swing at precisely the right second to ensure the bat connects with a resounding thwack! Then there’s the whole matter of making it to base before the ball does. One little girl on the team gently lays the bat on the ground before heading off for first base, as if she’s lovingly placing a doll on her bed before going out to play! It’s hard for her to beat the ball, except for the fact that that it’s usually overthrown, giving her a chance to make it in time.
My granddaughter is fortunate to have our pastor as her coach. This is her first year to play, and his encouragement helps her enjoy the experience. “Good try, Andrea. You’ll get it on this next pitch.” And when she hits it I can hear him say, “I knew you could do it!”
I think it may be like that in our Christian life too. When we first become believers, there are a lot of new things to learn. We’re glad to be part of the team, and we have a general idea of what we’re supposed to do, but are maybe not sure how or why. We need someone who can explain the importance of prayer and Bible reading. The importance of attending church and giving. The importance of serving in some capacity.
Will we always get it right? No, there will be times we strike out. But that doesn’t mean we’re eliminated from the game. As long as we get out on the field, no matter the weather, and listen to the directions of our coach, we’ll find ourselves becoming more proficient in our Christian walk. We’ll find our rhythm and it will become more natural, in a supernatural way, to live the life Christ has for us.