devos from the hill

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball

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Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

It’s a popular phrase. You’ve probably heard it, “When life throws you a curveball.”

Because the World Series is starting this week, I’m going to toss up the question, “What do you do when life throws you a curve ball?”

The curve ball is thrown by rotating the index and middle fingers down, resulting in spin on the ball that gives it the motion of a downward “curve”. It’s one of the hardest things in sports to execute well. It gives the opposition fits when thrown properly. Some pitchers have a curve ball that actually seems to skip or accelerate on the downward motion as it nears the plate.

What are the options for a batter when he is thrown a curve ball? Well, the first challenge is just to recognize if it is a curveball. It takes a lot of practice and physical gifting to be able to visually pick up on the spin of a baseball. Assuming a batter has some capacity to recognize a curveball, his first option, particularly if he’s low in the count, might be to “take it”; just watch it go by. Many batters know what it’s like to see that pitch coming right down the middle of the plate, thinking they can do whatever they want with the pitch. They can almost taste it. So they let loose with a swing, only to find at the last split second that the pitch is “dropping off the table.” There’s no way to adjust in time to connect with the ball. The best they can do is to try not to look like too much of a clown as their knees buckle and they thrash the air. Why do that if you don’t have to, if you can take it? If it’s early in the count you can give up a strike, and there is the possibility it will drop out of the strike zone and be called for a ball.

Another option when presented with a “wicked” curveball is to do as the hitting coach says and “go with the pitch.” And while that is much easier said than done, the coach has probably learned the hard way… you’ve got to respect the pitch. You can’t play it as if it is something it’s not. Scale down your swing. Use your hands and wrists instead of your instead of your torso and trunk. That’s the only way you can possibly hit a really good curveball, or at least foul it off to avoid a strikeout.

While what I’ve written is particularly about baseball, it does have life application. I think the best example of a real life “curve ball hitter” is Joseph in the Old Testament. Because of his brothers’ wicked dealings with him, Joseph suffered greatly and his whole life was altered. Yet when they came asking for his help, Joseph said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” – Genesis 50:20. Joseph’s life is a study in how to go with whatever situation God brings your way, rather than fighting it. Most Bible students see Joseph’s life as foreshadowing the life of Christ who said, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” – John 6:38.

Like a leaf that has fallen into a great river, Joseph’s life was moved by the powerful flow of a divine current. And with each event that came into his life, Joseph submitted to that flow rather than resisting it. Rather than fighting God’s will, Joseph adjusted, and God used Joseph’s life to accomplish exactly what He had planned beforehand, bringing good to Joseph and to others, and glory to Himself.

So what do you do when life throws you a curveball? You do what Joseph did. You go with it, and you find God’s higher purpose in it.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

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