“Today we’re going to catch a foul ball.”
Walking to Safeco Field to watch a ballgame between the Seattle Mariners and the Angels of Anaheim, I turned to my daughter Ashley and made this great statement of faith. Or maybe it was a statement of presumption. Either way, Ashley — who is a professional baseball sports writer and has attended more ballgames than I can count — dismissed my comment without a thought. She knew better. Foul balls are never hit her way.
Wouldn’t you know it? At the top of the first inning, the first foul ball of the game was hit by an Angel high into the air…and as it lofted down, it looked like it was heading straight for us.
The ball took its time falling from the sky. This gave me plenty of time to consider my words spoken before the game started. This did seem to be what I had wanted. I was also acutely aware that without a glove, if I stood up to catch that ball with my bare hands, it would probably hurt. A lot.
I remained seated and watched the ball as it drifted down. And so did every other person in my section. No one moved! Not one person stood up to take possession of this errant ball.
Eventually, the ball dropped over our heads and landed at the feet of the fans seated right behind us, then bounced away.
A few innings later, I looked over at the Mariner dugout and had a flashback in my memory to a player named Joey Cora. Now Joey Cora earned a lot of fanfare back in the 1990’s, when he played shortstop for the Mariners and was one of the most popular players on the team. I only knew of Joey Cora because he played for the Mariners when they were on a winning streak, and it was the first (and only) time baseball had captured my attention.
Since Ashley wasn’t yet in kindergarten when Joey rose to fame — and I wasn’t sure if she’d become familiar with his name — I asked her if she’d ever heard of a player named Joey Cora. She had. And so had the couple who were seated in front of us.
Laughing, the couple turned around in their seats and said, “We just named our newborn daughter after Joey Cora.”
Really? Who does that? And how in the world did they end up sitting right in front of us, during the precise moment when I made another random, off-hand comment?
God had my attention. I knew this wasn’t a coincidence. Something was up…but what could it be?
The next morning, I was in my early morning prayer time and the Lord spoke to my heart. He showed me the connection between the foul ball in the sky and the unusual use of Joey’s name: Lorraine, I gave you and Ashley a sign and a wonder…
And then in one moment, it all came together. Of course! The foul ball was certainly a sign that was clear to see, and meeting a couple who named their daughter Cora (after a baseball player long after his heyday) when I spoke his name is a wonder I’ll never forget.
Throughout Scripture, God used signs and wonders to direct the attention and the hearts of people to His presence and to His promises. He is our God who does not change. He uses signs and wonders still.
Signs and wonders should arrest our attention, and cause us to look to Him. What are the signs and wonders that God has done in your life? What ways is He directing your attention back to Him, as He points you to His presence and to His promises?
If you’re struggling with doubt and fear, I encourage you today to look up! Remember what God has done for you, and not just for those you’ve read about in His book. It’s wonderful to read the life stories of those in Scripture who were faced with challenges just like us, and who were given the comfort of God’s promises. Their stories were written to give us understanding and hope.
And yet…history is still being written with the story of your life. What story is your life leaving for others to read? I pray it is an incredible story of faith. Be blessed!