Trouble with the curve...
Yes, another baseball analogy, and the title to a great movie. If you don't live amongst a baseball family you may miss the importance of both. Life will throw you curve balls, but how we handle difficult times, the events that seem to come out of nowhere and move in a crazy direction, will determine whether we miss or hit a home run.
I caught myself praying for something trivial earlier this week. Catching myself, I apologized the the Most High for being a "spoiled brat." Compared to the major issues in the lives of others, like cancer, terrorism, loved ones with addictions, world hunger, etc. my request was so petty. Remembering my prayer, I traveled later in the week for a summer baseball tournament. My husband stayed behind for business with plans to join later. On the second day of the trip our car had brake trouble. I was a bit rattled at the unforeseen curve ball, but continuously prayed for God to show me how to handle it. Throughout the event, I had several conversations with my husband about what to do, where to take the car, how to return to the hotel while it was being fixed, and all the other details required of finding help alone in an unfamiliar city. I was frustrated; my husband felt helpless. The important problem solving demonstrated for all of us was not in placing guilt for all the "should haves," but in working solutions to the problem. Curve balls come when we least expect them, so we make adjustments.
We search on line to find a reputable franchise with a Christ-centered business model. Two locations were reasonably close and I was determined to call the minute they opened the next morning. I contacted the hotel shuttle service to pick me up as early as possible. The next morning, I arose and dressed and prayed for guidance about which location would be best. One location was away from rush hour traffic and had fewer lights, so I called and was told they had availability. Upon arriving the gentleman at the front desk began to bless me. He (1) was welcoming when greeting me by name, (2) reduced my stress with worship music playing in the lobby, (3) demonstrated a servant heart by offereing to drive me back to the hotel so I did not have to wait for the hotel shuttle, and (4) blessed me upon our arrival at my hotel for brightening his day with a discussion about our LORD. It was number 4 was the one that opened my eyes to the curve!
In Yahweh's lovingkindness a very familiar verse was demonstrated: We know that all things [even curve balls] work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV
My brake issue was not about us not servicing the car before leaving home, or about teaching my sons how to safely drive with partial brake issues, or about me being patient when curve balls come in my life. I believe the purpose was for me to be an encouragement to an auto shop in the midst of my difficulty! This man who exemplified Christ during a stressful time, thanked me for being a blessing to him!
Our lives are not all about us. Curve balls in life demonstrate the depth of our character, breadth of faith in our Coach, and the hope that sometimes we may hit a home run even if from our perspective we are striking out..
Most Holy Father and Creator of all things, great and small. I rejoice this day in wornout brakes. I am grateful that today I had the opportunity to encourage another follower of Christ through my conversation and financial support. I know I can be a brat, but may I be reminded that I am Blessed - Redeemed - Accepted and Treasured. Forgive me when my eyes are only on myself. May I not miss an opportunity to hit those curve balls while being a blessing and an encouragement to someone else. Amen.