Broken bats

When you look out across the battle lines between Christens and the world, it’s not easy to be optimistic. The headline could easily be written “World 10, Christians 0.” My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.

When things are really bad, it always helps to be on the right side! No one likes losing. I don’t care how philosophical you are, being the one holding the broken bat that just popped up to the infield will never hold a candle to shaking the hands of your deliriously happy teammates as you cross home plate at the other end of a long home run. Losing may be character building and it may impart all kinds of timely and healthy lessons in this life; but losing will never replace winning as that one thing that really, really feels good. But, if you are going to lose, at least its good to lose knowing that what you struggled for, what you sacrificed and strained for, was worth it in the first place.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the realm of politics. Over the course of the past three or four decades, I have been on both sides of the win/loss column. The sting of defeat is especially apparent when your support for a particular candidate goes deeper than just checking a ballot on election night. When you walk sidewalks handing out literature, write newspaper editorials, go to political rallies, stuff envelopes and make hundreds of telephone calls all in the cause of defeat, the morning after can be very depressing. Defeat is bitter and very difficult to swallow. Yet, there is solace in the fact that what you supported was good, honest and truthful. Oftentimes in defeat that is all one has to hang on to.

When you look out across the battle lines that have lately been drawn up between Christendom and the world, it is not easy to be optimistic about victory. It seems that every day there is another news story whose headline could easily be written “World 10, Christians 0.” Scan through the front page of most any newspaper and count up the news stories that favor Christ over Satan. You won’t find many; they are few and far between. Sometimes you wonder how a faith that is built on confidence that a believing heart will always be victorious, can be maintained in the face of sin’s constant tri- umph. No doubt there isn’t a Christian, faced with the persistent negativism of the media toward Christ, who hasn’t asked himself “why Lord?” And, coupled with his own personal defeats on a daily basis, hasn’t asked “when Lord and how?” It really makes you wonder sometimes if what you are fighting for is worth it; especially when all you seem to get for the struggle is more misery, more defeat. Martin Luther wrote, “The whole of Christendom consists of a little group of people who must bend their back, and suffer, and carry more grief and anguish, laid on them by the world and the devil, than all other men. What man, in face of such outward appearance, could feel, or see, or conclude, that they are right with God?” (Exposition of John xvi)

So, why have so many for so long struggled amidst these mounting losses? How could the church have survived through- out the ages so beleaguered and bereft of hope? By all accounts it should have folded its tents long ago in that not much has changed in the way believers are treated today than they were yesterday. How is this possible? There can be only one explanation. Christians may lose but they are never defeated. The reason is that Christians know, not by themselves or by some miracle of wisdom, that they are on the right side. It is not something we can believe by logic or embrace by our own passion. No, it is the work of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit who confirms this truth in our hearts. Our bats may be broken and we haven’t smashed a homer in a long time, but at least we know one thing. The manager sitting on our bench is one worth playing our hearts out for. This is the hope that sustains; the cause never diminished in tribulation.

We pray. Heavenly Father, You have always taught us that he who has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scripture in his hands has all he needs. This gives us the confidence to get into the game of life knowing that you are on our bench always willing and waiting to pick us up by your Holy Spirit when we face defeat or even worse. Remind us daily that you are there, you are willing and that you will never forsake us even when we face life with a broken bat and a broken heart. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)

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