When a fastball looks more like a change up: Relying on God’s strength instead of your own

Power pitcher, Roger Clemons, won over 350 games, struck out 4672 batters, and won two World Series Championships during his illustrious major league baseball career that spanned over twenty years with four different teams. Roger was elected to his first of 11 All Star teams in 1986, his third year in the league. Clemons took the mound as the starting pitcher for his American League team in the bottom of the first inning and though he was able to get through the inning without giving up a run, he was clearly nervous.


As a Boston Red Sox, playing in the American League, where a designated hitter is allowed, Roger had not had to bat during his major league career. Now playing the All Star game in a National League ballpark, where there is no designated hitter, Roger stepped to the plate in the top of the second inning to face National League counterpart, Dwight Gooden. Clemons struck out looking at three straight pitches. As the story goes, he returned to the dugout and asked his fellow teammates if his pitches looked the same as the ones he just faced. A teammate responded, “No, you pitch harder.” Clemons returned to the mound brimming with confidence and pitched two more shutout innings. He earned the All Star game MVP and went on that season to not only win his first of 7 Cy Young Awards (an award given to the best pitcher in each league) but also the American League MVP award, which is rarely given to a pitcher.


Like Clemons, I wonder how often I lose confidence and grow insecure because I lose perspective. Clemons needed to be reminded of the strength and power behind his fastball. I need to be reminded of God’s strength and power through me. Unfortunately, Roger’s ability to throw a 90 mile per hour fastball faded over time and his career eventually ended. Fortunately, God’s strength and power never fades and are at my disposal at all times.

However, much of the time, it sure doesn’t feel like it! Instead of an All Star, power pitcher able to strike out the side, I typically feel like an old, washed up knuckleballer getting hit all over the park!  And in those moments of weakness I realize three things:

1. I’ve often lost sight of my identity in Christ. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” As God’s child, I have been called up to play in the major leagues yet I often act as if I’m still in the minors.

2. Because I lose sight that I am a child of God, I begin to rely on my own strength and abilities. However 1 Corinthians 1:25, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

3. I tend to forget that the moments of weakness, when my confidence has been shaken, are the times when God’s power is most evident. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul says, “But [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” And when God’s power is made evident in my life, God’s name is glorified, and my confidence grows… not confidence in my own ability. No. My confidence in my identity as God’s child grows, a child who has access to her Father’s strength and power to do things that are beyond comprehension or imagination.




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