The YMCA Baseball Pony League City Championship Game is a big deal to a sixth grader. Some serious bragging rights are on the line. Girls are greatly impressed by such an accolade. It was with much anxiety then that I put on my uniform for the biggest game of my life. All of the season had come down to this. I was fairly confident we could win. Blair was on the mound, and he had a fantastic curveball. I was his catcher. We could communicate just through facial gestures. Mark was our lead-off hitter. He must have had the highest on base percentage in the city. If Mark got to first base, we were going to score a run. John was our clean up guy if I was batting third. Either one of us could hit the ball a country mile if we got a fastball down and in.

This game was not a sure thing, but our team sure was hitting on all cylinders.


After warm-ups I headed to the dugout to put on my catcher’s gear. We were the home team that day. The temperature felt like it was about 200 degrees that day, and the gear would add about 50 degrees on top of that. Oh well, this is the championship game. I then had a brief conversation with Coach Gary. Gary was a laid-back guy. He had only been kicked out of one game. He was strict but forgiving, confident but silly, focused on the fundamentals. My kind of coach.


I asked Gary how he would feel if we won the ball game. Gary paused and looked at me funny. I had seen that look before. I said something wrong but didn’t know what. He then grinned and said, “James, not if but when. Don’t talk about if. Let’s talk about when.” We won the game.


Life lesson received. I still think occasionally about that sultry, hot late June day. I learned a lesson about faith. When we come to Jesus, it’s important to think about when rather than if. One man once approached Jesus and said, “If you can do anything, help me.” Jesus simply replied, “If?” Life lesson received again. Jesus wants to help us. He wants to! As we turn the calendar, let’s cry out to God for help, for mercy, for healing, for forgiveness, for hope. Then know that it’s not a matter of if but when. We don’t have an iffy God.