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)
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 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—I need you to really give it some more thought.
But in our quieter moments, away from the fields, we probably hope that no one was watching as we donned “rally caps”, committed to not get a haircut or shave our beard 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” hole-filled 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, 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 and good fortune. God instead is all about being in a relationship with each of us that leads us into all that He intends for us to be. And as He seeks us, chases after us, waits for us to come to Him, God is still on the throne and knows the outcomes of our next moments, as well as all of our todays and our tomorrows—whether we knock on wooden posts or not.
In our quieter moments, we do remember that God is really into us—into spending time with you and me! The same God who was with me in that meeting on the ball-field that night so many years ago, 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 so good. 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 this—He loves you and me 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 take time to thank God!
In His Name—Scott