Posted: 1/24/20 at 2:15pm. Column by Ed Jordan.
While life is not a mere game, we can learn many lessons from sports. Last fall, Don Davidson, of First Baptist Church of Alexandria, VA, reminded attendees at the BGAV annual meeting of an important standard rule in baseball. He pointed out that “In baseball the game is not over until the home team bats at the end of the ninth inning.”
Sometimes in life, when it always seems like it’s the ninth inning and you are behind, things can look so bleak that you consider quitting. But Dr. Davidson encouraged us to remember that the home team gets the last at bat, adding: “Wait and see what happens when God comes up to bat.”
So many people give up and give out after a long, seemingly losing battle. Perhaps it is a struggle with health issues, aging, or conflict in the workplace, or unemployment. Sometimes we battle discouragement, or a wearisome struggle with an intransigent problem.
I remember times in my life when I didn’t know what would hit me next.
But God is the God of all hope. When we feel discouraged or frustrated, we can focus on the fact that we are on God’s team. Therefore we should remain hopeful, because God bats last. We should wait and see what will happen when God comes up to bat.
Life on planet Earth changed dramatically when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and then on the third day resurrected from the dead. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we can be forgiven of our sins which had estranged us from life with God. We can be restored to a living, vibrant relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
How can we experience this new, forgiven and restored life? 1 John 1:9 (CSB) explains: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” To confess is to agree with God about our sins, to be honest with God, and to ask him to come and live within us—cleansing and delivering us from all that is not right within us. When we do this, we join God’s team.
We can see the difference hope makes in our lives as we mentally take our place among the first disciples of Jesus during his arrest, death, and resurrection. His disciples were crushed and in despair. They had followed Jesus as the Messiah, thinking that Jesus had come to establish a kingdom in Israel and rule the world.
But suddenly, their dream was crushed. Jesus was arrested. The rulers planned to crucify him. Everything they had believed was in flux. Their situation seemed hopeless.
Then to make matters worse, the Romans took Jesus to Golgotha and hung him on the cross until he was dead. Jesus was taken down from the cross and buried. The disciples were ready to go back to fishing—back to their mundane lives. They were ready to quit on their dreams and quit their faith.
But then on the morning of the third day, the earth shook, and Jesus’ tomb was opened so that they could go in and see that he had risen from the dead, just as he promised he would. Angels appeared to tell them to go to Galilee, and they would see Jesus there. Their lives were suddenly filled with hope, and joy, and possibilities! He is alive!
Death has been defeated! Death no longer has the last word; Jesus does. When Jesus bats last, we win! Jesus promised us in John 11:25-26 (CSB): “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Reevaluate whatever you are facing today that has you discouraged. It may seem to be insurmountable and overwhelming when we face it in our own strength. But if you are a follower of Jesus, then you are on the home team. Hang in there until our team’s last time at bat. Jesus will be batting cleanup. Wait until God comes to bat!
Nobody defeats God. As Jesus himself told the disciples in John 16:33 (CSB): “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” It is God who gives us victory over whatever we face. Commit yourself to Jesus, live in him, and you will have peace. And in the end, we will win. God bats last!