1949. Sportsman’s Park, St.
Louis. Bottom of the ninth. Visiting Chicago Cubs leading the St. Louis Cardinals
3-2. Two outs, one Cardinal runner on. At the crack of the bat, Cubs outfielder
Andy Pafko races in and makes an apparent shoe-top catch to end the game in
a one-run Cubs victory. But suddenly things change. The umpire rules the ball
was trapped and calls the batter safe. Pafko is shocked — so shocked
that he charges the umpire to argue the call, oblivious to the fact that the
ball he is waving in the umpire’s face is still in play. Time-out had
not been called.
While Pafko argues, the two runners
race around the bases. The first runner has scored by the time the horrified
Cubs bench manages to alert the stupefied Pafko. His throw to the plate is
late and Rocky Nelson scores the winning run. What Pafko thought was a game-ending
out has turned into a two-run “inside-the-glove” home run, giving
the Cardinals a 4-3 victory.
Life isn’t always fair and
the calls aren’t always right. But those who shake their fists at the
heavens or bemoan the ill treatment of men forget that “the ball is
still in play.” Like the oblivious outfielder, many let the victories
of life race past them as they fruitlessly complain about the unfair breaks
that have come their way. The Cubs could still have won that game —
despite the call. The bad call only made it a single; the player’s reaction
made it a homer.
In the game of life and its accompanying
battle with Satan there can be no time-outs. The ball always stays in play.
Victories go to those who spend less time complaining and more time giving
When things go wrong, it is our
reaction that determines our future. Bad times will come; but if we allow
Him, God will turn them to our good (Romans 8:28). If we focus on what we’ve
lost rather than what we still have, things will only get worse.
It doesn’t matter that life’s
not fair. What matters is that God is ready and willing to turn our trials
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