Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Yeah, but would a just God allow the Designated Hitter Rule?

Pitcher Andy Pettitt says God wants him to play baseball, and specifically wants him to play for Houston:

By Andy Pettitte and Bob Reccord with Mark Tabb

My ultimate goal as a ballplayer is to win the World Series. Period. When I played for the Yankees we didn't just hope to make it to the series at the end of the season. We expected to play in it and win it every season. Nothing changed when I left New York. I signed with the Astros after the 2003 season because I wanted to help bring a championship to my hometown. That's why I play the game.As a Christian I also have one goal. I want to fulfill God's purpose for my life. I constantly ask myself "What does God want me to do?" and "Where does He want me to go?" Those may sound like odd questions to ask in a book about purity. After all, doesn't purity just mean sexual purity? Hardly. As I said in the last chapter, living a pure life means trying to please God in everything I do. And the best way to please God is living in a way He can work through me and use me in other people's lives.

The question of God's purpose for my life both today and for the rest of my life makes everything else secondary, even baseball. Don't get me wrong. I know the Lord wants me to play baseball. After all, a man needs to have a job. But my career won't last forever. Eventually my life will take another turn. When that time comes, God's plan for me and my family will come first. With every decision I make I have to think about what the longterm effects will be. Being able to discern this requires a pure and holy heart before God.

While God has me playing baseball, even where I play comes down to a question of His plan for my life. When my last contract with the Yankees expired I could sign with any major league team I wanted. But I knew that wasn't really my decision. I prayed and sought God's will throughout the 2003 baseball season because I wanted to know where God wanted me to play next. Honestly I could never imagine playing anywhere but New York. But God could. He wanted me in Houston. I thought I knew why when I signed, but I only saw the tip of the iceberg. One month before the start of Spring Training, one of my best friends found out he had cancer. The Lord planted me in Houston to be there for him and his family.

I suppose I shouldn't be snarky. That bit about the friend with cancer is touching. But still. Do you suppose God is such a micromanager? Does He really give a crap about baseball and who plays it and what team they play for? Does He care what positions everyone plays? Who does He like in the Belmont? Did God want Danica Patrick to race in the Indianopolis 500 and finish fourth? Do you suppose God weighed whether to have Ms. Patrick race Nascar or Indy cars, and after much divine consideration, selected the latter? If God is that much of an activist, does that mean He specifically wanted that high school kid in Ohio to shoot all those people? Why doesn't God pay off my student loans? Does He just want me to spend the rest of my life in DEBT? What have I ever done to HIM? Why can't I have a pony, God? I WANT A PONY!

Mr. Pettitte's story made me remember that SNL skit where Sally Field plays a housewife who's constantly praying about every little thing. "Dear sweet Jesus, please protect my husband as he goes to work." "Dear Jesus, please guide me while I make this sandwich." "Precious, SWEET Jesus, please watch over me while I vacuum the stairs." That kind of thing. An exasperated Jesus finally appears to Sally Field and tells her, in essence, to cut it the hell out. He's BUSY.


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