I love summer. This past week was vacation week for me, having family in town. We spent time taking in all the beauty of Portland, eating fresh seafood on the coast at Canon Beach, driving the incredible scenic Columbia River Highway and we even ventured north to get a close up view of the cityscape of Seattle while enjoying a short cruise in Elliot Bay. Needless to say, we did a lot in a short period of time, but of course it was all worth it. On the evening of our day in Seattle, we drove down to Tacoma to take in a minor league ball game with the Tacoma Rainiers, farm team for the Seattle Mariners.
At the top of the first inning, the visiting team from Reno scored 4 runs which caused the fans to go silent pretty quick. To make matters worse, two innings later the score sat at 6 to 1 for the opposing Reno team and it looked like this was going to be a long night. Hats off to the stadium for trying their best to keep fans happy by throwing shirts and coupons at us, but I found my solstice in the loaded nachos and my all-beef stadium dog. With it being a Friday night the stadium is apparently known for some incredible fireworks. So when we got to the bottom of the 9th inning with no change in the score and all hope of a turnaround fading, I was ready for the game to end and the fireworks to begin…but that’s when things suddenly changed.
Out of nowhere and having 2 outs left, Tacoma erupts in five runs crossing home plate, tying the score 6-6 thereby taking us to the 10th inning. With nothing left up their sleeves, Reno came up empty which in turn brought us up to bat. Before our very eyes, Tacoma loads the bases and they are down to the final out and the final batter. Ball 1. Ball 2. Ball 3. Ball 4 – and the Rainiers’ cross home plate giving them a 7-6 victory over Reno. It was incredible! We all went crazy, high fiving each other shouting and celebrating their win as though they were our long time beloved team. It was quite the game to be at! As you can imagine, the night ended with some pretty outstanding fireworks.
I’m glad I was there not just because it was a great game, but for the fact of being reminded to never quit. How often is our lives not like that game? So often before we ever get out of the gate in pursuing our dreams do we meet opposition that seemingly knocks us down. I couldn’t help but think of how easy it would have been for the Rainiers to have kept replaying that first inning in throughout the game; replaying what they would have, could have, and should have done. But it was obvious they didn’t do that. They simply kept playing their game, even when several of us gave up on them. That, my friend, takes focus. That takes faith. There’s nothing wrong in reevaluating our lives and going back over how we could have improved or made some better decisions – it’s wise – but the important thing is that we keep moving through the entire process. When we spend too long psycho-analyzing our past we start to shut down. Before we know it our driving momentum will die and we will get lost somewhere in our head over things that cannot be changed. If you’re like me, then you’ve been there more than once! So if it helps, I like to think of it this way. Since Satan is not omnipresent like God is, then the devil has an impossible time hitting a moving target. You and I are moving targets so long as we keep moving towards our God given goals and dreams. We must keep playing our game no matter how disadvantaged we may feel or how hard we’ve been knocked down. Pursuing God’s calling and purpose keeps us on the offensive against our enemy and it creates the conditions for faith, focus and persistence to thrive. To top it off, when everyone thinks it's over, God has a bases-loaded 10th inning up His sleeve. All you have to do is walk into it!
"Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward — to Jesus. 14 I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. 15 So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us...."
Put me in coach, I’m ready to play…