We are currently amid Major League Baseball’s World Series. Once per year, I attend a Pittsburgh Pirates game, and while baseball isn’t my favorite sport, it’s easy to get caught up in cheering for the home team. After all, baseball is one of those American things—like apple pie and mom.
On the designated evening this year, I was looking at the beautiful city of Pittsburgh, singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” watching the pierogi race, and cheering for the Pirates. It was my first game with the new pitch timer clock, which allows only 30 seconds between batters and 15 seconds between pitches. This new rule is intended to move the game along at a faster pace. Fans, therefore, need to keep their attention on the game. The pitches are still coming, the umpire is still making the calls, and the fans are still responding. It’s the same as always, just faster!
After each throw, the umpire, whose eye is right there, makes the call. Me? I cheer and boo. While having a pretty good seat that night, I was nowhere near those pitches proceeding at some 90mph toward home plate. Why am I cheering or booing? That’s easy. It’s because I either do or don’t like the call. I’m either in agreement with the umpire, or I’m not. The call is either for my team or against it. It made me wonder how often fans actually boo good calls and cheer for bad calls. For many, it’s all about which team you want to win, and not necessarily the accuracy of the call.
Since that evening, I have thought about God as an umpire. He has a “call” about everything in life, and He is always right. Yet, people suppress that truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). He calls something evil; people call it good (Isaiah 5:20). They cheer for the evil and boo the good. Why is this so?
Famous umpire Billy Evans noted, “The public wouldn't like the perfect umpire in every game. It would kill off baseball's greatest alibi - 'We was robbed.'” Doesn’t this apply to real life as well? Mankind isn’t interested in a perfect God with a perfect plan, for it kills off our greatest alibi, “We was robbed.” Humans want to call ‘em as they see ‘em (Genesis 3) and to do what’s right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25). They only cheer for the things with which they agree.
And while we know the unbeliever desires to suppress the truth, how often are Christians tempted to cheer and boo the calls we see being made about our lives? We see the pitch coming and it looks like a ball. God calls it a ball, and we agree with Him. He calls something a strike, and from our limited perspective, we disagree. This may cause us to grumble in our hearts or even aloud about the Umpire. We may say we’re simply grumbling about our situation, forgetting about the God behind our circumstances.
We must remember that our lives are in His wise and loving hands. He never takes his eye off his creation (Job 28:24). He never misses a call (Deut. 32:4). We are never robbed (Psalm 84:11). In His sovereign plan, every call He makes is for His glory and our good. While our perspective from the cheap seats might tempt us to cheer or boo, the Lord never makes a bad call. Even in the hard things of life.
Although we may not want to cheer about our trials, we most certainly can use every seventh-inning stretch as an opportunity to give thanks that we know how the game ultimately ends and trust the One who calls ‘em perfectly every time!