Number 13 of the Evergreen Park Boys Club Pirates positioned himself in deep center field. As the Oriole batter stepped into the batter’s box, #13 knew what was coming. Earlier in the day that batter, a neighbor across the street, had walked up and announced: “I’m going to hit the ball over your head tonight!” With a resounding crack, the ball shot off the bat in a towering arc toward center field. Number 13 positioned himself for the catch, but at the last minute had to reach back over his head for the ball. Executing a perfect backward somersault, he managed to hold onto the ball. Racing to second base, the home plate umpire signaled out!
I was that fielder, and up to that point in my life intimidating behaviors generally created fear in my heart. But that day I wasn’t scared by the braggadocio or the ball coming toward me. Although I was a lousy hitter, that didn’t stop me from excelling as as fielder and base stealer (I walked often). Through my weakness, God taught me the value of teamwork and contributing in my areas of strength.
James 1: 2-4 encourages us: “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work in you, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” In The Land Between, Jeff Manion rephrases the essence of this passage as a series of questions: “What if he (God) chooses to make his presence available when you are in the space you least desire to be? . . . will we open our hearts to God? Will we open our lives to his work and his blessing while we are not where we want to be?”
God will bring tremendous blessing from adversity if we rely on His strength rather than concentrate on our weaknesses.