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Joel Zumaya, a hard-throwing pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, fractured his elbow pitching on Monday night against the Minnesota Twins.  This article on the Detroit Free Press talks about his injury and his thoughts after learning that though it is a season-ending injury, he will be able to pitch again.  After reading the piece, I thought of three things I would say to Joel if I had the opportunity.

First, the article’s title is “Joel Zumaya hopes to return next spring”.  To that, I say, “Joel, hope in Christ alone.”  All things in this world fade away.  There will come a spring that you will not spend in Lakeland, Florida getting ready for a season of playing baseball.  A life worth living is a life lived to display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God in Jesus Christ, which is the ultimate purpose for the existence of everything. Living to that end will be the path of finding true joy, whether God allows you more seasons or not.

Second, if baseball is taken away from you, God means for it to be a way of pointing to the only thing that will truly satisfy your heart’s desires.  All the idols of this world are worthless and those who love them become like them… deaf, blind, empty and dead.  But sometimes we don’t know what we are idolizing and it takes God removing what we’ve put in His rightful place to realize how backwards we are living.  Suffering exists as a means of giving us more of God while weaning us off the idols of our hearts.  All we need in life is God.  We were made to see and enjoy and proclaim the glory of God.  Anything else we live for will always leave us empty.

Third, Joel said, “I felt like I had no one on my side.”  To that, I say, “When Jesus was taking the final steps of His path towards the cross, he was all alone.  The crowds were against him, the religious leaders were against him, his best friends had deserted him and one of them even denied knowing him.  In fact, even God The Father forsook His own Son at the cross.  Jesus knows what it is like to be utterly alone.”  1 Peter 3.18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God”.  Through Christ’s suffering, God’s enemies were made His sons.  Christ’s suffering enabled us to regain fellowship with God.   So, Joel, whether you are experiencing the joy of playing baseball or the pain of having it taken away, anyone who believes in Christ alone and pursues their joy in God alone are rich beyond comprehension and have so much to live for.

So, Joel, believe that Jesus Christ, the Righteous Son of God, died for all our sins and conquered death by rising eternally triumphant over all his enemies and that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy in the fellowship with the One True God, both in this life and one to come.

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