Written by: Amy Dalke
Luke’s baseball team played in their first ever kid-pitch tournament this weekend.
Which basically means there was a moment (or ten) over the last few days that I wondered if I would ever enjoy baseball again.
Because when kids first learn to pitch…the game gets a little
There are other slight changes to the game. Namely, that your kid can now get decked on the side of the face by an erroneous pitch. You know, since eight and nine year old rookie pitchers aren’t nearly as consistent as the machine.
If you know Luke, you’re probably familiar with his quirky fears. Oh my word, we have run the gamut of fears with Luke: he’s been afraid we’ll forget to pick him up from school (for the record, we never have); he’s afraid to spend the night at his friends’ houses; and he went through a brief (Thank God it was brief) phase about a year ago, where he was afraid to go to sleep at night. You know, because what would happen if he woke up and Larry and I were dead? What would he do? (At that point, I made a mental note that we would forgo watching Home Alone the next Christmas.)
So now that his chances of getting hit by a pitch have increased, guess what the new fear is?
(Granted, this pitch was flying toward his head.)
(And, to be fair, this fear really hasn’t reached the level of dead parents in the night.)
But it’s in his head, nonetheless, and it has certainly caused him to briefly flinch a couple of times at the plate. We tried chasing him around the playground on Saturday evening, pegging him (not so softly) with baseballs. (This is Larry’s version of exposure therapy.) (I actually think it worked a little, but I’m not endorsing it as an acceptable parenting tool.)
Before the game on Sunday morning, I had one of our favorite family friends on my heart big time…and as I was reading in Ephesians chapter one (since that is my new obsession), these verses had neon signs all over it:
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,” (Ephesians 1:18-20 NIV)
This was Paul’s letter to the Ephesian believers, and he must have known that they (like all of us) could be immobilized by fear. He knew that if fear could creep in with its choking fingers, the saints could suffocate with feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure, and devastating insecurity.
Paul’s antidote to fear…was praying that they would have power. He prayed that they would know what was already theirs in Christ: the incomparably great power that God works right inside of believers.
Not just any old power, either. Resurrection power.
This was totally a lightbulb moment for me: The answer to fear is power.
As soon as we open our eyes to discover the power of God within us, fear loses its strength. Fear tucks it’s tail and heads for the hills when power enters the picture.
This resurrection power is far more powerful than the power of intimidation; it far surpasses the influential power of a charming personality, or the muscular kind of power that Shaun T offers in the latest workout infomercial. (Which I bought, and it’s not as miraculous as promised.)
This power that believers have within us is a mighty power…the kind of power that doesn’t slink back in the face of obstacles, because it knows who ultimately wins.
It’s the power that doesn’t rely on its ability to clearly see what’s ahead. In any and every situation, this kind of power surges ahead in confidence, and leaves the results in the hands of God.
On Saturday evening, Coach Josh told Luke told that he should stand in that batter’s box like he owns it. Because he’s the batter, and it’s his box. If he gets hit by a pitch, it might hurt, but that’s the risk you take to score runs.
You can’t let the fear of getting hit, keep you from playing the game.
I just can’t help but think how much we miss out of life because we are afraid. But fear is not our inheritance from God! Power is! (see 2 Timothy 1:7)
Power is the birthright of God’s children. We inherited the right and ability to bravely stare (and punch!) fear in the face because the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is working within us, all around us, and FOR US.
This kind of fear knows that even the grave can’t hold us back.
It’s our batter’s box, and the pitcher can throw whatever curve ball he dares to throw. But we aren’t moving. We won’t be shaken. We won’t shirk back with fear.
Instead, we’ll swing like life depends on it.
All the power of heaven is ours…and that kind of power can stand up to even the fastballs.
p.s. This one is for you, Randy Schulze. We are praying for you, and I have no doubt that you’ll knock this curve ball out of the park.