There’s a lot of reasons why this time of the year is pretty much my favorite. The long thaw of winter is slowly beginning to lift, spring is around the corner and there’s still a cool breeze blowing through the valley at night. There’s a sense of renewal and optimism in the air as families look forward to the end of school and begin to plan summer vacations. As a baseball fan, one of the things that I love about living where I do is the opportunity to attend Spring Training games. With half of the Major Leagues spending a month working out in the Arizona sunshine there are multiple opportunities to see some of the game’s best. Often there are new faces in new places and fans, including myself, get an opportunity to see how their team could look for the upcoming season.
Spring Training is just the beginning of the journey. At this time every team has the same 0-0 record and the same path to achieve their goals. The baseball season is a long 6-month, 162-game grind through the dog days of summer and for all of the optimism and expectations that players, owners, front offices and fanbases have to start the year at the end of the season only 1 team will be crowned champion. This means that 29 others will spend the next few months figuring out where they went wrong. However until that final out is recorded no outcome is for certain as there are any number of things, ranging from a hot streak to a key injury, that can derail or flip the script on a team’s season.
As a Christian one of the things that I’m grateful for is that the outcome of history isn’t in question. After Jesus went to heaven “two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'” (Acts 1:10-11, ESV) John tells us that “he is coming with the clouds, in glory. He will capture every eye, even of those who pierced Him through. All the nations of the earth will be pierced with grief when He appears.” (Revelation 1:7, The Voice) In the end Jesus wins and those of us who have put our faith in him get to share in that victory but often the grind of life causes us to lose our focus. We get so caught up in the trials of this life that we forget that it’s temporary but it’s important that in the midst of this “we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, CSB)
As difficult as it can be sometimes to grasp with our finite minds we need to remember that this life isn’t all there is. Towards the end of Scripture John says that he “heard a loud voice from the throne say, ‘See, the tent of God is among humans! He will make his home with them and they will be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be death anymore. There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.'” (Revelation 21:3-4, ISV) This is our hope. The end of the story has already been written. This is how we can live in victory regardless of our circumstances. All of history is moving towards this finale and we have a front-row seat.