Jesus in the Bullpen

Photo by Rachel Xiao on

In the summer of 1992, I finally got my “shot” in one of the last baseball games I ever played.

Our team held a marginal lead entering the final inning. As the “home” team our opponents got the final at-bat. But our pitcher was tired and unable to finish the game. Though rarely called upon to pitch, I received the nod to head to the mound. Honestly, it was a desperation move by the head coach, my dad. Our ace pitcher couldn’t make the game, and my dad’s options were limited.

I stepped to the mound in the bottom of the final inning as calmly as I could. But inside my stomach turned to knots. The weight of the entire game rested firmly on my shoulders.

I’m proud to say that I pitched a hitless inning for my team. Unfortunately, the other team didn’t need any hits. I don’t remember if we recorded a single out. But I do know that I walked the bases loaded and then walked in the winning run.

I failed.

We lost.

In a sport like baseball, those clutch moments require someone to step in and save the day. A hero who will accomplish a miraculous feat, usually because plan A didn’t pan out or the team got outplayed by the opposition.

Too often, we can place God’s plan for saving his people in the same category as sports. Adam failed in the garden, humanity couldn’t hack it from that point on, and so now it’s time to bring in the relief pitcher – Jesus.

At Christmas, though, we don’t celebrate the arrival of God’s plan B. Jesus didn’t trot out of Heaven’s bullpen to do what Adam, the starting pitcher, couldn’t do.

The baby born in the manger was always God’s plan A.

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