If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. – James 1:5-8
The batter strolls up to the plate, kicking his feet into the dirt as he settles into the batter’s box. Gripping the bat as he takes a few practice swings, the hitter begins to stare down the pitcher in an attempt to spot any motions or reactions to tip off the oncoming pitch. As the pitcher enters into his motion, the batter focuses his attention fully on the pitcher’s hand, straining to see the ball as it slips off of his fingers. In less than half a second the ball will be crossing the plate, leaving him very little time to decide if he should swing. Though the odds are overwhelmingly against him, the hitter chooses to swing. He raises his front foot, thrusting his hips as he drags the bat through the hitting zone. With a loud crack the bat reverses the path of the ball, launching it into the afternoon sky. The pitcher drops his head, unable and unwilling to look at the quickly disappearing baseball. For the briefest of moments, the batter lingers at the plate, watching the ball land in the bleachers before flipping aside his bat and trotting around the bases.
From the moment the ball left the bat, everyone in the stadium knew the ball was gone. Baseball fans would describe the preceding scene as a “no-doubter.” Not every home run works this way. Some balls hit on a line may not be high enough to clear the fence. Other balls are hit so high into the air that the hitter is left to wonder if it will have enough distance to clear the fence. In each of these cases, the batter must sprint toward first base in anticipation that the ball will be in play. If it doesn’t go out, they can still get to 2nd or 3rd. Running hard out of the box is prudent. If they begin to trot, they turn an extra base hit into a single or a put out at 2nd base. This is the sort of thing that turns cheers to jeers and gives the manager reason to speak to the hitter upon his return to the dugout. But if they run and the ball ultimately lands in the seats, they can always slow down for the last half of their trip around the bases. So while players will take home runs any way they can get them, there is a far greater appreciation of the moonshot that sends people running for their tape measures.
We learn that life, like baseball, has few “no-doubters.” Death and taxes aside, each day provides us with a combination of choices and circumstances beyond our control that leave us with little certainty. Some people look for sure bets, pinning their hopes on people and their promises only to come up short. Others trust in systems and processes that periodically fail, leaving them scrambling for solutions to their escalating problems. But we as Christians adhere to the words of Hebrews 12:2, “fix[ing] our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We follow Christ because through Him and His word we find the one thing in life that remains constant: truth.
It is in the word where we learn about God, His Son Jesus, and their plan of salvation given freely to me: by grace through faith. Because this work has been done for us by the One who created and sustains us, we have no reason to doubt. This isn’t always an easy thing to do. When you live in a world known for its unreliability it becomes unnatural to fully trust. But this is what God calls us to do, and when we as Christians take that step and truly give our lives to Him, God will fill our lives with a peace the world can’t comprehend and blessings beyond anything we’ve ever imagined.
Go on – marvel at the majesty of the Lord. Unlike baseball, you can get away with this without fearing the pitcher throwing the ball at you the next time you come to the plate.