I wish I could remember my first Cub game. I’m sure my brother, AKA baseball fanatic, could tell me every single detail of that game; from stats to players. My memories though are steeped more in the sights, sounds and smells. Like the aroma of steamed hot dogs, peanuts, and beer…vendors selling souvenirs, programs, and yearbooks…then that epic first crack of the bat, the organist plunking out, bu-da-bu-dump-da-da, and the audience’s excited response of, CHARGE! Oh, and of course, there are the players! As a young girl, I was sure that one day I would marry one of them, becoming Mrs. Baseball; only then to spend countless days at the ballparks. Ryan Sandberg, you totally missed that chance! By the way, my hubby did play the game in high school, so that kind of counts.
Although I attended many Major League games in my growing up years, there’s only one ballpark that can envelop my body with goose bumps on a 100-degree day and that’s Wrigley Field. As soon as the field comes into view, my eyes are misty and I am completely moved. It’s a beautiful sight to me!
The Cubs are part of who I am. Now I haven’t followed them closely enough to even rattle off statistics, or records, but I promise, my blood is blue. True Blue. However, there’s a sad reality I’ve been forced to recognize about true blue Cubbies. We carry a reputation. Maybe you’ve heard this, or quite possibly, experienced it. We are passionate. That passion, coupled with so many years of disappointment has allowed for a bitter root to take hold in some of us Cubbies. I won’t try to pretend it’s not there. I’ve witnessed it. Cub’s fans can be vicious and fierce. Waiting for next year can do that to you. Especially when the wait has been 108 of those!
It makes me think of Sarah. You know, Bible Sarah. Sarah waited 90 years to have a child. Although, there was a period of time that she tried to bring an end to her waiting, by manipulating the system. Some of you may be familiar with the story. Sarah offered her maidservant to Abram, her husband. Yep, she pretty much told her husband to sleep with someone else. No surprise, but that quickly turned ugly. Hagar, the maidservant, became pregnant and Sarah didn’t treat her so well. Imagine that! Shocking! Honestly, we all saw that coming, but it proves what can happen when we get tired of waiting and take things into our own hands. Looking for a way to move things along, we can create a nasty mess. Sarah trusted God’s promise of a child; she simply didn’t trust that God knew how to do it, so she helped Him out.
So this would be like, if I went into the dugout for game 3 of the World Series tonight and told Joe Madden, the Cubs manager, to leave, and I would coach. Right? I got this. We all know that would give birth to a huge problem, and that’s exactly what happened to Sarah.
Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, and this complicated things for sure. Have you ever grown impatient while you’re waiting, and then acted on that impatience? Be careful, because you may find yourself creating a much bigger problem than waiting.
Fast-forward the story more than 10 years. At this point, Sarah is 90 years old and hopeless that she will ever have a child. She’s in a place now where there is no waiting; Sarah has given up. Then suddenly one day 3 visitors arrive at Sarah and Abram’s tent. These were 3 Divine visitors that had some news for Abram and Sarah. God was calling a play that they had marked as impossible. Read the following interaction:
9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he answered.
10 The Lord said, “I will certainly come back to you in about a year’s time, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.
11 Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years.[g] Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12 So she laughed to herself: “After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight?”
13 But the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”
15 Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid.
But He replied, “No, you did laugh.”
Waiting can cause our hearts to grow bitter, cause us to lose hope and become callous. Waiting can cause us to forget that God is never waiting. Sarah had enough of waiting till next year to be a mother. Her hopes and dreams had washed away and now her heart was cold. The sarcastic laughter erupts from this heart has known disappointment for too long.
Sarah’s response is like… “Yea, right. I don’t think so.”
Abraham had been told, promised, by God that He would be the father of nations, and here they were waiting for just one child. Cubs Nation has been waiting to win just one World Series! Kind of comparable…that might be a little over the top.
Guess what…next year has come!
Sarah gave birth to a child. At age 91, she gave birth to her precious son Isaac. Do you know what Isaac means? Isaac means “laughter”. Sarah laughed again, but this time her laugh was NOT from a cold and callous heart.
Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and everyone who hears will laugh with me.” She also said, “Who would have told Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne a son for him in his old age.”
Looks like the last laugh was on Sarah!
Seriously, there is no joy like that of hope realized. At the same time, no bitter misery like that of hope misplaced. There is One that is true blue to you. He ACTIVELY waits with you, all the while knowing the outcome. He has ordered all things according to His perfect will and for your good pleasure. This side of eternity your hope and wait may continue, but it will one day end when we arrive as the ultimate victors clinching the title of Champions in Glory!!!
I hope that His good pleasure is to see the Cubs clinch the 2016 World Series!