Life Lessons: What’s a Curveball?
I know everyone is not a baseball fan, or even a sports fan. And this post is about life, not baseball. But the baseball metaphor is helpful!
Hitting a baseball is difficult. And it gets more difficult when a talented pitcher can throw various kinds of pitches. The curveball takes an arcing route to home plate. If it’s well thrown, the batter may actually duck, thinking the ball is going to hit him. The arc brings the ball in front of the batter and over home plate. Hitting a straight pitch is hard enough. But baseball is just a game. Real life is even more challenging, and then we get a curveball. How do we hit it anyway?
Life Lessons: The Unexpected
Life gives us unexpected difficulties. Those are our curveballs. Like the batter, we can do one of two things:
- Flinch, look bad, and strike out (and not help our team)
- Learn to recognize life’s unexpected difficulties as our opportunity to knock the ball out of the park!
Three boys, whose difficulties were worse than most of us have ever faced, left a great example of hitting life’s curveballs. You probably know them and their story. What they did is definitely a Life Lessons post!
We must learn from others because none of us has time to make all the mistakes ourselves. Three teenaged boys were overtaken by amazingly difficult circumstances:
- Taken captive by an invading army
- Forced to live in their captors’ capitol city
- Forced to learn a new language and culture
- Commanded to disobey God’s laws
Armies and war have been part of life for centuries. These guys did their best to adapt. But they found it impossible to disobey God’s laws. Their disobedience wasn’t disrespectful. They simply refused to worship a false god. What was their punishment? They were sentenced to death.
The king who captured them gave them a final chance to bow to his god. Their response is so instructive:
We do not need to give you a further answer. If He chooses to do so, our God is able to deliver us from your sentence. But if He does not do so, please know we are going to obey Him and His law.
What these boys did was correct and courageous. But please see the principles behind the narrative:
- God is ultimately in control
- God knows what is best
- God can rescue me from the circumstances or see me through them – HIS CHOICE! (see above)
- My difficulties are an opportunity to glorify Him
- His glory is more important than me or my life
- Obedience is my opportunity to be a witness
- God often does the miraculous in response to obedience
Life Lessons: Imitate Those Who Know
These boys were named Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Considering their young age, their actions are even more inspiring. But age does not determine whether or not someone should be imitated. Obedience is to be imitated no matter the age of the one displaying it.
Why make this point? The downward spiral of society means we will face the same kinds of choices. Life’s curveballs will cease to be a rejected college application, losing a job, or an unexpected illness. Sooner than later the curveball will be whether to obey the King of kings or protect myself. That’s the lesson they taught and the one we must learn to imitate. Think about it!