Hitting the Curve

Baseball’s minor leagues are littered with talented ball players who have peaked at this level and will never reach “the show”. They stand just inches away from the pinnacle of their sport, the fulfillment of their dream, and yet it might as well be a million miles away. Their ability to field their position or to run fast is not in question. They even handle the fastballs that travel at speeds in the high 90’s with major league potential.  The thing that separated more players from their major league dream is the inability to hit the curveball.


The 12/6, the hook, or the Uncle Charlie… you can call it by whatever name you want, this pitch has crushed more major league aspirations than any other obstacle a player will have to face. More than a few players were considered great sluggers when swinging at a fastball, but came undone when faced with the uncertainty of anticipating when a curveball would drop into their hitting zone.


In much the same way I believe that life mirrors this pursuit of major league glory in our own handling of life’s curveballs. Most of us have developed mechanisms for handling the straight ahead responsibilities of life and even obtained some measure of success for our endeavors. It is the unexpected, the curveballs that life throws at us, that separates most of us from success or failure. The unexpected job loss, the dissolving of a marriage, the doctor’s report that brings fear, the death of one so close that their departure can’t be handled, all of these curveballs can represent moments that make or break us.


It is one thing to read the scripture, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him” yet quite another to live it. We are masters at giving advice but when we have to swallow the medicine, who among us doesn’t rebel?


I would like to suggest that the difference between hitting the curve and missing it is wrapped up in the simple yet complex mental position of moving from the “why” to “what’s next”. It is our human condition that always tries to analyze each of life’s curves and dissect each player’s role to understand why something happened and even assign blame. Unfortunately the process can take years away from your life and in the end leave you with more questions than answers.


When we can settle in our mind that the past needs to stay in the past, because with reliving each dark episode that led to our present turmoil, we stay stuck in a moment and slowly the promises of God will be robbed from us until all that is left is the bitter shell of a life. The unexpected has always been a part of the human journey.  How we handle the unexpected defines our destiny. It is impossible to thinking about the next step when stuck trying to understand the one you just fell off of.


This in no way is to suggest that heartache and struggles can be denied or avoided. We are after all human. It just seems to me that a God whose love is so deep would know that bad things do happen to good people and He would want to give strength to the weary not just to stand but to keep to moving. How we handle the curves will always determine our future if we will allow God to give us the strength to move from the “why” to the “what’s next”.