Baseball’s Greatest Gift
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-11

Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved baseball. I lived and breathed it growing up, so much so that by age 11 I had turned my backyard into a baseball field. My grandfather built me a wooden scoreboard and a concession stand, and my father created jerseys for our family and friends to wear when we played. We had some epic games in the backyard. As you can tell, I was spoiled rotten.

I took my love of the game from the backyard to Little League and all the way to college. I was lucky enough to pitch all four years in college. With Major League Baseball back in full swing, I cannot help but think about my playing days. I learned a lot of lessons while on the ball field, but there is one lesson that has helped me more than any other: dealing with failure.

I am not sure there is another sport in which you can fail so often, and still end up being a Hall of Famer. You are considered a great hitter if you get a hit three out of ten times. Your opponent can handily beat you one day, and the next day the opposite can happen.

I have never failed more in life than I have on a ballfield. I have struck out plenty of times, made more errors than I want to admit, been a part of some losing teams and yet I still love the game. Baseball taught me to fail, and to fail well. What do I mean by that? I learned how not to be defined by one strikeout or giving up a homerun. The game forces you to deal with your failure and then get back to playing. You will not last long if you cannot accept that you’re going to fail at this game.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that we are not defined by our failures, but recognizing our weakness is an opportunity to receive the strength that only Jesus can give. We are not stuck in our misfortunes, our bad decisions, or even our sin. God’s grace is given to us, so that we are no longer slaves to sin. If today you are feeling that you are “not good enough, not smart enough, or simply a failure,” I invite you to bring that to the Lord and to hear Paul’s worship afresh: “Whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”
The Rev. Wesley Arning
Associate for Young Adult and Small Group Ministry
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