ARE YOU READY TO BAT FOR AMERICA?
The bases were loaded, and we trailed 3-2 as Abby walked to the plate. Hillsboro, our opponent in the regional tournament had scored 3 runs in the first and had been successful at maintaining their lead into the 5th inning. If we lose, our season is over. If we win, we advance to the final-four in our State softball tournament.
Entering the 5th we trailed 3-0. But a pair of walks, a hit batsman, an error, and an infield single had plated two runs. With the bases loaded and the score 3-2, our three, four, and five hole hitters were making their way to the plate. With three ducks on the pond, and the heart of our order lining up to bat, things were looking good for the Lancers.
But the three hole dribbled one back to the pitcher. One out. Inexplicably our power-hitting clean-up hitter popped out to short. Suddenly, what had looked like a big inning now hung precipitously in the balance. Our five-hole hitter sauntered apprehensively to the plate. With the game, the season, and our school’s hopes on the line, Abby Daubenmire bore the burden of delivering in the clutch.
As she scraped the batters box with her black and white cleats, the dark clouds that had been hanging ominously over our team suddenly let out a crack of energy and a jarring bolt of lightning shook the diamond.
It wasn’t a message from God. It was a thunderstorm bearing down on us. “Clear the field” bellowed the man in blue as he ordered both teams into their dugout.
My heart sank as Abby slinked back towards the security of the concrete structure. The Ohio softball rules state that a mandatory thirty-minute break must follow after a flash of lightning is seen in the vicinity of the park. With the weight of her world on her shoulders, Abby would have to endure the longest half-hour of her life, seated on a wooded bench, seemingly at the mercy of fate.
Having spent my whole life playing ball, and a career as a coach, I knew the pressure that was descending on our 17 year-old daughter. I slid quietly up to the dugout, stuck my head around the corner and peered into the eyes of Abby. A cloud of fear had engulfed her. I smiled at her, gave her a thumbs up, and then turned and did what any good father would do. I went to battle for her.
I pulled myself away from the crowd and began to intercede in prayer for Abby. For the next twenty-five minutes I sought the Lord, knowing that, as stupid as it may sound, her next at-bat could change the course of her life. Think I’m crazy? We all remember Shooter in Hoosiers and how missing the game-winning shot had altered the direction of his life. Like a good Daddy, I took it to the Lord, and asked Him for the words to speak.
In a few minutes, the teams were out of the dugout, loosening up, preparing to resume play. I strode boldly towards the dugout, and stretched my neck around the white-concrete entrance. Abby was sitting in the same spot she had been earlier. Her eyes met mine, and I sensed the despair in her heart. I motioned for her to come to me, close enough that my hot breathe pierced her nostrils, looked her dead in the eyes, and spoke life into her spirit.
“Oh Abby, I’d give anything to be you!” I said as my eyes flashed like the lightning, and my arms flailed in exultation.
“What?” She searched my deep, confident, brown eyes. “What do you mean Dad?” as her voice trembled.
“Oh yeah, I’d give anything to be you. You get to be the hero! What an opportunity. All of your life you have been preparing for this moment. From the time you could walk you have been playing ball. Back-yard games, weekend tournaments, batting practice, hitting lessons, hundreds of games, and many at-bats have prepared you for this moment. Who would you rather have at the plate? Who is more capable than you? I’d give anything to be you, Abby. This is your moment for greatness. You are so ready!”
Her eyes lit up and moistened, and a smile creased her lips, and she popped up, grabbed her bat, and began to prepare for the biggest at-bat of her life.
When play resumed on the now sun-drenched field, Abby Daubenmire drilled the third pitch from the Hillsboro pitcher, over the left-field fence, a grand-slam home-run, propelling her team to the State Tournament.
It was the only time in her life she had ever hit a ball over the fence. Hundreds of games, thousands of at-bats, one home run. She faced her fear, took her swing, and delivered. Abby was so ready for that moment!
“So, that is a great story, Coach, but what does it have to do with me,” you might be asking. “Do you think God let Abby hit a home-run because you prayed? What about the other team? Did God want them to lose? What if the pitcher’s dad had been praying for his daughter too? Did God pick sides?”
I don’t know the answer, but I think you are missing the point. The story isn’t about Abby and her home-run. It is about you. This story is a lesson for you.
The Christian life is more of a walk through a mine-field than it is a stroll in the garden. Challenges abound as we “wrestle not against flesh and blood.” As our families are crumbling, our faith is under attack, the culture is careening towards self-destruction, and politicians are oblivious to Truth, we sit trembling in the dugout, unsure of ability to make a difference, fearful of failure, hoping someone else will take that game-on-the-line at-bat.
It is time to take an inventory of your own faith walk. Think of the storms you have weathered. Broken marriages, business failures, addictions, wayward children, sickness, death, public humiliation, apostasy in the church, and broken dreams line the path you have walked. As hard as it has been, you have endured. It reminds me of my four favorite words in the Bible “It came to pass.” Thank God it didn’t come to stay.
Christian America is being rocked by storms. Everywhere you look, every institution for good is being savaged. The game is on the line and we are nearing our last turn at-bat.
“What difference can I make?” you ask. “I’m just one person, and besides, I am helpless to fight against those folks. They will chew me up and spit me out. I know somebody has to do something and I pray that God will raise somebody up. But not me. I’d probably just strike out.”
Can I ask you something? How many more Bible studies will it take? How many more sermons from your pastor? How many more videos will you view, or audios will you play before you take your turn at the bat? When will you realize that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now dwells inside you?
I’ll never forget the look on Abby’s face as she circled the bases, the magnitude of the moment slowly sinking in with every step of her victory lap. She had seized the moment.
Greatness is always around the corner. It is not something to be chased, or a title given by others. No, greatness is a moment waiting to be seized. Greatness announces itself.
Look for that opportunity to make a difference. A life-time of obstacles has prepared you for “such a time as this.” All across this land America needs someone to step to the plate. Fight for Truth, protect the children, take a stand for Christ. Are you going to stand back and watch as our heritage is destroyed? Are you going to wait on your pastor to put you in the game? Are you waiting on a thunderbolt from Heaven?
You can do it. You can deliver the game winning hit. You can make a difference right where you live.
Grab a bat and take a swing. Folks are counting on you!
are so ready!
out my new CD…Why
Should God Bless America?…it's better than listening to O'Rush,
O'Hannity, or O'Reilly. Pass some salt to your friends!
© 2006 Dave Daubenmire
- All Rights Reserved
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Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries www.ptsalt.com and Minutemen United www.minutemenunited.org, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain.
The Christian life is more of a walk through a mine-field than it is a stroll in the garden. Challenges abound as we “wrestle not against flesh and blood.” As our families are crumbling, our faith is under attack, the culture is careening towards self-destruction, and politicians are oblivious to Truth...