Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29: 11 (NIV)
“Time out!” The memory is still as vivid today as when it occurred. Our ace pitcher—“One-eyed Jack”—was pitching a no-hitter for us in the United States Air Force fast-pitch softball base championships.
Master Sergeant, Jack Orvin, had lost an eye early in his Air Force career, yet in addition to being able to do his job in the Air Force, he could still pitch a softball at speeds in excess of one-hundred miles an hour. His nickname—One-eyed Jack—was always a nice reminder to hitters on opposing teams that they might not want to get too comfortable in the batter’s box.
During a strategy meeting on the mound in the sixth inning of the semi-final game of the championship playoffs, our catcher happened to mention to those of us gathered that Jack was pitching a no-hitter…with one inning yet to go. Superstition has it that the sure way to break up—or jinx—a no-hitter is to mention it while it’s in progress. The antidote to break the jinx—is to “knock on wood” somewhere, quickly and before the next pitch.
“Time out!” I called out to the umpire as I ran past my third-base position and into our dugout. And then reaching down out-of-sight of anyone, I knocked a few times—on one of the wooden posts in the corner of the dugout. It worked! Jinx removed! And Jack completed his no-hitter and we moved on in the playoffs into the finals.
It’s probably because there’s too much time between pitches that baseball and softball players develop these little superstitions, idiosyncrasies…dare I say character flaws? In the heat of the moment—we tend to act them out as if they were real, like I did that night many years ago on the softball-field on Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. And if you think that my knocking a few times on the base of a wooden post in the corner of a dugout preserved Jack’s no-hitter that night years ago, well…
But in our quieter moments away from the field we probably hope that no one was watching as we donned “rally caps”, committed to not get a haircut until we lost, made sure not to step on the chalked foul-line as we ran on and off the field, put our glove in the exact same place in the dugout each inning, wore our same “lucky” holey socks for five games in a row, didn’t pack up the gear early for fear the other team would rally, or made sure to “knock-on-wood” somewhere to preserve a no-hitter.
Because in our quieter moments, we remember that God isn’t into superstitions or luck or fate or karma or any new age remedies or potions that are promoted today for jinxes or to assure success or a lifetime of bliss. God is into a relationship with each of us that leads us into all that He intends for us to be. And God is still on the throne and knows the outcomes of our todays and our tomorrows…whether we knock on wooden posts or not.
In our quieter moments, we remember that God is into us—into knowing you and me! The same God who was with me in that meeting on the ball-field is with me—and with you—this very moment as you are reading these words.
As a matter of fact, that same God who is with you now, was with you when you were born. It’s the same God who knows whether you were rocked as a child; and who knows what your childhood was like—good or not. The God who guides our days and our nights, and is in our meetings on the ball-fields or at home or the office, is the same God who has been with you and me on our happiest days and in our saddest moments.
And He knows all of our broken promises and all of our screw-ups.
And—are you ready for it—He loves us just the same. As a matter of fact, the last breath He breathed on this planet—was for you and for me.
But this time, and every time, to simply—thank God!
In His Name—Scott