Strasburg’s Setback Galatians 5:16-21
I must begin by asking Strasburg’s forgiveness: he has become a handy symbol, and I hope his multi-million dollar contract is somehow making up for his very public life.
At any rate, Strasburg has suffered a setback: an injury to his pitching arm that has put him on the disabled list and sent him in for surgery. Right when everything was going so well, too. I was watching the game when the injury occurred; and, up until that exact point, his pitching was totally dominating, a wonder to behold. And then what happens?! Disaster strikes.
While most of us can’t identify with Strasburg’s enormous talent or wealth, all of us can identify with the ‘disaster strikes’ part. Life, it seems, is like this. As Frank Sinatra put it, “You’re riding high in April, shot down in May.” Sometimes it’s wonderful, but sometimes life is hard, harsh, and cruel.
People handle the realities of existence in different ways. Anger, bitterness, self-hate (somehow we all blame ourselves), frustration, contempt, hostility, ridicule, sarcasm, resentment… all of these attitudes and behaviors spring from the deep well of our life experiences. What is the answer? Certainly, putting on a brave face, pretending it’s not so bad, and outright denial have all been tried, unsuccessfully. A deeper solution has to be found.
The Christian answer – and this is an answer which God through Christ offers to the world, not just to “Christians,” – is potentially transformative. It says that God is the author of life, and that through Jesus, God entered creation as a human being. Finally, it says that as God embraced life in all its fullness, so should we, the good and the bad of it, which has all been restored, or made new, through Christ.
On a practical level, this means that there is no need, nor room, for blame of oneself or anyone else, nor any need for hostility, but just one thing: becoming a part of this new creation. It’s simple really. Feel welcomed by life, in all its challenges. Become the person that one knows oneself to be, deep within. In any and every situation, bring all that one has to offer, to the moment – and live the moment according to one’s own choice. In so doing, a person will still experience the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” (Hamlet?), but the person will participate in them, rather than let them have dominion over life.
It is my belief that God welcomes – urges – us to become new creations. More than that, God will answer the prayers of anyone seeking to live as a new creation, and that an abundant life will result – free for the taking.