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When God Throws a Curve

Baseball is my favorite sport.

Many people can’t get into baseball. Some folks just don’t like it at all. Others enjoy the idea of the game, but it’s a hard game to watch. I get it. Not only is it full of rules (and they add more every season), but it’s…so…slow.

A few years ago, I subscribed to the MLB app for the postseason and learned you can watch just the highlights of a full game. They would remove all the downtime and every pitch that didn’t result with the ball going into play. Hilariously, a full major league baseball game could be reduced to 4-5 minutes.

Here’s the super short version of my history with baseball. I invested a significant portion of the first half of my life into baseball. I became a Christian just before I turned 20. Within 6 months of becoming a Christian, the path involving baseball came to an end and then began a path toward ministry.

For years and years I wondered at why God did things this way. Everything seemed to indicate I should expect a fastball and then God throws me a curve? After all this investment, do I have nothing to show for it? While I still don’t definitively know the answer, I’ve latched onto what I feel is a pretty good guess. At least, it’s a guess I find encouraging.

Here’s my guess: it took me nearly 15 years to learn to be teachable, or since we’ve been talking about baseball, coachable.

In all honesty, I was probably a well below average player. Learning the skill of being teachable allowed me the opportunity to play at levels and accomplish things I never would have based solely on my natural athletic ability. In other words, being teachable made me a better player.

I rarely toss a baseball around these days. I literally have no idea as to the last time I swung a bat at a real baseball. For all I know, I’d probably injure myself if I tried! But almost every day of my life I employ this skill of being teachable.

Learning from mistakes I or others make, having friends and mentors offer insight through conversations or reading books, and even asking those I trust to evaluate and critique are ways I benefit from being teachable, even when I have to hear difficult feedback.

Being teachable begins when you embrace the insight and direction someone else can offer. This is also true of our lives as believers.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7

This verse seems to suggest that when we fear (i.e. reverence, respect) God, the knowledge we gain will include wisdom and instruction. It is foolishness to despise these things. I sure don’t want to be a fool.

I feel silly now when I think back about my time in baseball being wasted. It’s silly because I thought I was investing in baseball. The investment was in something more valuable. God threw me the pitch I needed.

I suspect He does that for us all.

God bless,

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