Thursday, July 17, 2014

Curve Balls

“Have you ever heard of anything so bizarre?” 

Sadly, yes. 

Her question pleaded for understanding in the midst of the bride-napping of their daughter—their daughter invited to dinner by the boy’s parents and never returned.

Although I never heard of that particular curve ball, I cease to be amazed by Satan’s creativity; he has the curve ball mastered.

Last night, Yu Darvish's eephus pitch - a curve ball - in the All-Star game made national news. Most of the curve balls sent our way don't make national news, but they confuse and lead astray like last nights pitch.

Early last month, my cousin penned these words …
“About a year ago I dodged this bullet. But another shot has been fired and I'm not fast enough to duck this time. The infection in my right foot has progressed to the point where the IV antibiotics are no longer affective and the infection could threaten my life. So Monday morning, June 9th, I am going to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center to have my right lower leg amputated at about mid shin ... I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a bit of an emotional train wreck about the whole thing. I've seen it coming but you really just can't prepare yourself for something like this. Sometimes life throws you nasty curve balls. I'll just have to adjust my swing.”

He is in the midst of adjusting his swing.

I’ve mentioned my friend Kara previously. Her mommy days were seriously interrupted two years ago with the diagnosis of breast cancer. Her battle continues. Kara knows hard and knows grace; she shares her story at giving the gift of life to thousands while treading the valley of death.

Other good friends continue swinging at curve balls pitched to them. One longs to see their adult prodigal walk up their driveway; another’s daughter experienced a stroke 3 years ago and recently marital struggles have escalated. (You heard of these friends before. I know they appreciate prayers.)

The curve balls keep coming.

Space stops me from sharing Caleb's story, Nate's story, Katie's story, Faith's story, and, and, and ...

This morning as I walked with Lexie, our Golden Retriever, in the forest behind our home, I was awed by the delicate, beautiful Columbine, amidst the tall grasses framed by the charred trees. The aroma of fire from over a year ago still stronger than the sweet smell of the flowers. 

Through this crazy, wild, lovely picture, God reminded, it takes a very dark canvas to showcase beauty.

Paul did not deny his hard when he wrote from prison, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body.” Philippians 1:20

My friends don’t live in shame. They desire Christ to be exalted in their circumstances. In many ways, he already is. I am honored to walk with these people.

They are plugging their heads into sockets of scripture, like the Philippians verse above or Isaiah 61 and letting truth flow.

"To care is to be present to those who suffer, and to stay present, even when nothing can be done to change their situation." Henri Nouwen, A Spirituality of Caregiving. I hear my responsibility in these words and I am challenged. I want to stay present with my friends. I want to trust God with them.

My friend Sally Breedlove***, author of Choosing Rest shared a prayer of one of her friends, “Lord, let my life be a platform where the beauty of Jesus is revealed.” Sally testifies, she wanted God’s presence more than she wanted her problems fixed. (Chapter 4) Those could also be the words of my friends.

Curve balls resemble ashes.

They do not surprise God. He uses them as a platform to fashion beauty. 

I want to see beauty now. I tire of ashes. 

Each of these stories challenge my desires, my thoughts of right, my hopes, my faith. Hard threatens to consume. BIG threats but not big enough to consume. God is bigger!

What are the scriptures that give life as you experience curve balls? Let’s encourage each other.

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”                                                         Romans 12:12

*** Sally Breedlove is coming to Colorado Springs to speak at a Sabbath-Living Retreat this spring. Stay tuned for more details!


  1. Great blog post. Curve balls change everything. Even our faith. By the grace of God, our faith is strengthen when we experience the curve balls of life.

    1. Sometimes its so hard to distinguish our good from God's GOOD. I work at trusting that everyday. Yes, may our faith in the Omnicient one grow during those hard curve balls.