August 26, 2016

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

God can bring about dramatic turnarounds in your life

Sean GallagherMy three oldest sons—Michael, Raphael and Victor—wrapped up our summer last week by attending an Indianapolis Indians game together a couple of days before their first day of school. Little did I know when we walked into Victory Field that the learning would start that night instead.

The night wasn’t that much fun—at first. It was marked by a steady light rain, and indifferent play by the Indians. They gave up two runs early on to their opponent, the Louisville Bats, and consistently left men in scoring position.

During the seventh inning, with the score 2-0, the rain started coming down a good bit harder. So, I told the boys that we might leave the game early. The crowd was small to begin with, and many of them at that time were heading for the exits.

But the rain slackened up, and we ended up staying. And what a good choice that was.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Indians quickly got base runners on first and second. I’d seen this before earlier in the game, so I didn’t get my hopes up. The next batter walked, and the bases were loaded with no outs.

After a strikeout, a pinch hitter knocked in a run with a single. Now things were looking up. My boys and I were cheering for a “walk off”—a hit that would drive in enough runs for the Indians to win and immediately end the game, causing the players to “walk off” the field.

The Indians’ shortstop Alen Hanson made our wishes come true when he blasted a grand slam home run over the left field fence. I’ve been to a number of professional baseball games over the years. I have to say, though, that that was probably the most amazing finish to a game I’ve ever seen.

As the boys and I joyfully walked out of the stadium, we were drenched by a huge downpour. But we were having too much fun to care after seeing such a great victory.

That game was a joyful reminder of an important aspect of our faith that we need to keep at the front of our minds and hearts—never give up hope. God has shown us in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus and in the stories of saints throughout the ages that he can make the best out of the worst situations—sometimes at the last moment.

So the hope we’re called to has credibility behind it. It’s not just a Pollyannaish optimism with no basis in reality.

Keep up hope, then, if you have a relative who has abandoned his or her faith and seems so far away from it. Keep up hope if you have habits, or other ways of behaving that make life difficult for you or others. Keep up hope if you or a friend or relative has a terminal or debilitating illness.

God might allow us to see in these and countless other situations the kind of dramatic turnaround that my boys and I witnessed in that walk-off grand slam. At other times, the victory he has planned for us might be hidden from the world and will only be revealed in the next.

If we allow God to fill our hearts with confidence in the sure promise of a heaven where he will wipe away all tears (Rev 21:4), then we can persevere through the downpours of this life, knowing that they, as hard as they can be, are nothing compared to spending an eternity with God. †

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