For the first time since I was a student at H.A. Jones Elementary, my Braves are going to the World Series. I won’t lie; I didn’t watch the moment live. The game started about 4 AM my time, but half a world away, waking up as if on a Christmas morning, I got misty eyed watching the team celebrate.
Here are some spiritual lessons we can learn from the surprise NL champs.
1. Patience builds terrific teams
For Freddie Freeman, this one was a long time coming.
I was remarkably encouraged to get up and read some articles citing the long rebuilding process that took place for the sake of the team in 2014. Freddie Freeman, a Brave since 2007, was then chosen to be the one remaining franchise player with whom friends could identify, although he didn’t have an easy journey. It was a humbling process for Freddy, who chose not to use his talent or performance to become a peacock or trade his loyalty for a better paycheck at a more high-dollar team with better postseason results. In the NLCS, his bat was mostly silent while Eddie Rosario became an overnight Braves legend.
But that’s team, isn’t it? You recede to the background while God uses other newer members to do phenomenal things.
It encouraged me that it takes time to build a team, and important things are built over the course of years, not days.
I need to be a team player, too, because that’s where true greatness is forged. People tell stories about flashy moments, but great teams are forged when people do their part, regardless of the results, year-in and year-out.
2. Good pitching beats good hitting
Tyler Matzek had sensational stuff in the seventh-inning, coming in with two runners in scoring position and striking out the side.
It might be a stretch to relate, but I think it’s like having a good prayer life. You always start with the ball in your hands, no matter what the doctor’s diagnosis or your bank account statement says.
E.M. Bounds said, “Prayer can do anything God can do.”
In prayer, we get to strike first.
It doesn’t matter how much the adversary threatens, but if you’re standing on the mound of heavenly places and delivering with conviction, nothing can overcome you.
In letting it look dangerous, God is giving an opportunity for our prayer life to shine through as he works with his power in our circumstances.
3. Every loss can work out for good
Most baseball pundits counted out the Braves when they had a losing season and lost Ronald Acuña to injury. Still, general manager Alex Anthopoulos made some inspired (if not desperate trades) and acquired key players like Duvall and Pederson who would take the Braves far in the postseason. Help came from unexpected sources, like the then-injured Eddie Rosario. Adversity caused them to look outward and find unexpected heroes in unlikely places.
When the going gets tough, realize help might be just around the corner. Expand your boundaries. Meet new people. Try something different. It might just turn things around.