With his two-run homer, Dansby Swanson helped the Atlanta Braves win their first World Series in 26 years. We can learn a lot from a shortstop.
“God’s always got a plan,” says Swanson with a reassuring tone in a major media interview. I think you’ll agree with me that there aren’t many wiser words to live by, friends: God’s always got a plan. In fact, that is the wisdom of God Himself (Proverbs 16:9): The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
I take great comfort in that great truth, because – whenever I make my plans – my sin gets in the way. I’m a mixed bag, you see – a mixture of pure motives and selfish impulses. This side of heaven, that’s likely to be an accurate descriptor of what you get when you get me: a mixed bag. But not so with God! The Lord is unending in His perfections, and in His perfect knowledge of what ought to happen, so my ultimate trust must be in Him. Yours too. And here’s the deal: it is the Lord alone who ultimately governs my path. Yours too.
God is not just a predictor. God is a doer. God is not just a knower. God is a Sovereign. To understand those important – and heartening – distinctions about God is the difference between being a deist and a theist. Nowhere in the entire universe is there even one random baseball soaring through the air.
Is there any uncertainty about tomorrow? With me, yes. But not with God. He’s never surprised or caught off guard by any unexpected change. That’s so unlike me that it’s not even funny. Can you relate? Like the Israelites who walked before us, you and I often completely forget the faithfulness of God, especially when a new surprise comes our way. And it will be no surprise when I tell you that life sometimes feels like surprise after surprise. We don’t mind surprises like baseball-victory surprises, but you know those other kinds of surprises of which I speak.
That’s right where some of us are living. Right now. We’re just not so sure what God is doing. When it comes to matters of faith, sometimes a season of not knowing can drive us to want to throw in the proverbial towel. Every Christ-follower I know has experienced at least one of those dark seasons. But don’t you dare give up on God, as He has certainly not given up on you! I wish that I could have met Corrie ten Boom because I think that it was Corrie who expressed it best: “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
Are we hapless victims of life’s whimsical twists and turns? It may feel like it at times, but the answer is a thousand times “no!” Nor are we driven along by some impersonal and haphazard force. Nor are we battered by circumstances beyond all control. And here’s why: God remains fully in control. There is not a single moment in history when that statement is untrue, and that includes now.
Even now, Christ’s gracious hand guides us. His gracious hand protects us. His gracious hand provides for us. This is true when we win a game, and this is true when we lose a game. Because the tomb is empty, win or lose, we win!
This is a bright season for the Braves, and I hope that they – and their fans – savor every moment. And, at a moment when the tone could be braggadocious – and who would even question it? – we hear nothing from Dansby but the words of a humble servant: “The good Lord – He’s blessed me so much. I wouldn’t be here without Him. Just the peace that He gives me is remarkable, especially in moments like this. You can never go wrong in trusting in that … I’m just so thankful to be here.” Those are nothing short of (pun fully intended) words of grateful praise.
May his tribe increase. God, give us such grateful hearts.