Last week, my beloved alma mater, Pleasure Ridge Park High School (PRP), played in the Kentucky High School Baseball State Tournament. Though I was unable to attend, I followed the action online. As a former player and coach in the program, I will always be a Panther and will always root for them to remain the supreme program in Kentucky.
In the semifinal game against Mercer County, PRP cruised through the first 6 1/2 innings, leading 4-1 heading to the bottom of the 7th. Baseball is a funny–and sometimes tragic–game. Mercer loaded the bases with two outs before capitalizing on a PRP error, narrowing the score to 4-3. A routine fly ball to right field followed.
Imagine with me what took place in the four second that ball was in the air. PRP began to celebrate–fans, players, and coaches assuming the game was won. Mercer was dejected, believing their comeback bid was over. Two extremes of the emotional spectrum. Enter the unbelievable. The ball was misplayed in right field (how my heart breaks for that young man!!), allowing two runs to score and advancing Mercer County to the State Championship game.
At the moment the ball hit the ground, imagine the incredible swing of emotions for both sides. PRP–from elation and relief to utter hopelessness. Mercer–from complete disappointment to surprise and celebration. There are few things in life that cause emotions to change like that.
Spiritual lessons abound in the game of baseball. It took four seconds for life to change for PRP and Mercer County. It will take less than that when Jesus returns to call His people home to heaven. The Bible says it will happen in the blink of an eye. Those for whom this world is not truly home, those who long for things to change, will shift from frustration and pain to amazement and celebration. Those who have lived for this world alone, who have chased after the fleeting pleasures of sin and self, will stand in utter ruin and despair.
The winning side in eternity is that of Jesus and Him alone. “What is a man benefited if he gains the whole world, yet loses or forfeits his soul?” (Luke 9:25). Amazement, salvation, and victory or eternal ruin and despair. What’s your choice? Salvation is found in Jesus alone. “If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23).