The image of failure in baseball.
You have 3 or more chances to put your bat onto good pitches and hit the ball into fair territory. You couldn’t do it. When you strikeout, you walk back slowly with your head down and return to the bench. You could have gotten a hit, even a home run, or at least move some other runners along the bases while you made an out. But no, you got nothing, and your team now has one less out to work with.
If you look at the list of major league baseball players who have struck out more times than anyone else, at the very top of the list is Reggie Jackson. In 21 years in the major leagues, he struck out almost 2,600 times. But, if you look a little more closely at that list, you will notice that next to Reggie Jackson’s name, there is always a little asterisk. If you follow that asterisk, you will find out that Reggie Jackson is a Hall of Fame baseball player. He is a 14-time All-Star who won the Most Valuable Player award one year and placed in the top 5 for that in 4 other years, and was twice a World Series MVP as his team won the championship, earning him the nickname he is forever recognize by, “Mr. October.”
See, that little asterisk is important, it has an important meaning:
There’s more to the story.
When the Israelites entered the desert, they had to set up a camp. They had a huge crowd of people of course, so by the time the Israelites are moving around in their wandering in the desert, they are a large camp of tents that picks up every now and then and moves to a new location. In fact, if you were to climb up a high mountain and view them from above, you would see a large mass of tents, there in the middle of nowhere in the desert, with no food or money or security, no friends or helps, no experience living in the desert, and no idea where they are actually going to end up. You would think, these folks have struck out.
But if you took the time to scan the crowd of tents, you would notice off to the side – outside the camp of tents, but next to it – one particular tent that was different.
That tent is the meeting tent where God lives with them.
It is their asterisk.
There’s more to their story.
See, the Israelites were the greatest workers in the ancient world when they lived in Egypt. They had continued to grow and multiply even when they were oppressed and enslaved. They ultimately walked out on their employer and master, and in the process defeated and took down one of the greatest economies and armies in the world at the time. Not only that, they walked out with a huge golden parachute. They are now in that strange and messy position in the desert on their way growing and getting ready to enter an amazing destination for their future. And that’s how they got to where they are. God is with them.
These days, in my own transitions, it can look like I am in a strange and messy position. It can look like I’ve just struck out in life. But I wear a little wooden cross around my neck. It’s one little thing I have on me that reminds me that God is with me.
It’s my asterisk.
There’s more to my story.
We have the sign of the cross in our life for the times that God calls us out into the desert, into the strange and messy times of life, where things can be very risky and challenging and confusing and scary, and it can feel like you’ve struck out in life.
The cross is our asterisk.
Remember, there’s much more to our story.
God is with us.
Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. … And the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. (Ex 33:7,11)