I remember it well…my first year as a Little League baseball player. Up to that point in my life, I don’t think there was ANYTHING that brought more wonder to my young mind than America’s favorite pastime.
I had gone through try-outs and had been assigned to a team…”General Tire”, the name of a local tire store which sponsored our team and provided us with some truly amazing uniforms. I am not even sure I slept a single wink before that opening day, a Saturday. All during the prep for the season, the coach had used me as an outfielder. But on opening day, and due to a sudden sickness in one of my teammates, my position changed to infield, and I couldn’t have been more excited.
You see…where I played didn’t really matter…I had looked forward to, even longed for, the moment that all those imaginations and daydreams were going to become reality…that moment…when I stepped up to the plate as a batter.
But I remember something happening that I had not expected. A twinge of nervousness, maybe even a bit of fear…suddenly occupied my mind. Now, I had faced many a pitcher in tryouts, in practices…but now it counted. I had to step up to the plate, and swing that bat.
It has been over 50 years since that very special day, and I, along with every other person in our world, must once again step up to the plate today. No, not home plate, and it isn’t a game that we’re playing.
It is life. Our life. Our life that has changed drastically, and seemingly overnight.
And, much like that baseball game where I had to switch positions on opening day, we are all having to brace up for a flexibility that we could never have imagined. These are trying times, calling for courage and patience.
In times like these, my mind and heart races toward the Scriptures, and a couple of verses in Psalms in particular – Ps. 112:6-7:
For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.
7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
For every believer, this is a truly precious promise - the thought that we can step up to the plate of bad news, and have our heart held firm. It isn’t firm because of our resolve, but because of the One who is holding our hearts steady.
It is time to step up to the plate…time to be brave and courageous. It is time to trust the Lord.
Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers. In Gainesville, Mike is heard on WTMN - 96.3 FM / 1430 AM. In Ocala, on WRZN - 103.5 FM / 720 AM. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader. As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.