In my life, I’ve found two places of refuge, two places where I know I will come alive, if even for a few moments. One is in the pulpit preaching about Jesus. The other is on the baseball field.

Years ago, in college, my wife (then girlfriend) had a serious cheerleading accident that nearly cost her life. It happened in late January, just before the start of our regular season. During the two difficult weeks of her hospital stay, the baseball field provided me an opportunity to escape, to forget for just a moment what was happening. For those few hours each day, I found refuge and I came alive during a time when I would have otherwise collapsed. Thanks to my coaches, teammates, and the game, I got through it.

What does baseball do for you? What happens inside of you when you are on the field, when you watch a game, when you play, when you coach?

Here’s another reason to play: We play to find refuge and to come alive.

That’s the power of sports. That’s why I’m done apologizing for loving baseball. Something always happened inside of me when I was on the field. God used the game to help me heal from whatever might have been going wrong at the time.

I believe the same can be true for you. In some way, I just want to encourage you to keep going, to keep playing, to use the game as an escape and a means for coming alive.

We are afforded so many unhealthy opportunities to escape and to “feel” alive…substances, pornography, etc. I praise God for something healthy, like a game, that can provide for people like you and me the chance to live a little.

To players, I would say never lose what is so incredible about the game, the field, the experience. Don’t lose it in your pursuit of becoming great. Don’t make it just another obligation. Don’t just “work” at it. Play. Escape. Come alive.

I’ll close with this important truth…the game of baseball, apart from an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus, will still leave you empty and lacking. Only through His power can the game be truly transformative in your life. He alone can sustain you long after the lights go out. Build on His escape, His life, and then watch Him use the game in ways you never imagined.