“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27 NIV)
In 2002 the movie “The Rookie” was made by Walt Disney Pictures. The film was based on the life of Jim Morris, a believer in Christ, and a thirty-five-year-old baseball pitcher who fulfilled a boyhood dream of playing in the major leagues. The story teaches us that what we love to do, is what God has created us to do.
Norris was a great high school athlete, who was signed to a professional baseball contract after graduation. He developed numerous arm and shoulder injuries which made him retire from the game before he ever made it to major leagues. Norris went back to college and got a teaching degree and became a high school baseball coach. He pitched batting practice to his team and the boys saw he still had a good throwing arm. The players challenged him that if they won the championship that year, their coach would try out for a major league baseball team. They won the championship and he arrived at the tryout with two little kids at his side and one in a stroller. The scouts conducting the tryout thought it was a joke. He threw twelve ninety-eight miles per hour pitches. The scout called his supervisor and told him about this old guy that can throw at this speed. The supervisor replied, “I don’t care if he is fifty if he can throw ninety-eight miles per hour fastballs, we want him.” He signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization and eventually, through many struggles, made it to the major leagues, fulfilling a life-long dream.
All believers in Christ should have a dream from God, and those who don’t, may not be listening. God has created us with a narrative in our hearts to write on that grand stage called life. Yes, most of our stories may not be as dramatic as Norris’, but they are no less valuable to God. We are called to know God, and to make him known.
I have observed that peoples’ dreams die either before they get started, or just before they are to be fulfilled. In the movie, Norris went to his Father for advice when he was offered a minor league contract. His Father told him that you can do what you like to do, but eventually, you do what you have to do. His Father gave him some practical advice, but with God, reasonable does not always fulfill your dream. Well-meaning people will rain on your parade. Will you listen to all those voices around you, or to the inner voice that urges you to complete the task that God has placed in your heart? Those who have finished the vision that God has given them, have always marched to a different drummer than that of the world.
Norris’ dream almost died just before completion. In the film, Norris called his wife and told her that he is coming home. He was tired of the long bus rides, cheap motels, delinquent bills at home. His wife was hesitant and cautioned him as to whether he was making the right decision. At the end of the conversation, she asked him a question. She said, “Do you still love it, Jimmy?” There is a long pause in the conversation where he realized he did, and he stayed with the team. Not long after this phone call, Norris was called up to the big club, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It is always darkest before the dawn, and most discouraging when God is ready to break through concerning your dream.
There are many examples of people in the Bible who could have given up on their dream. What about Abram and Sarai, who were past the age of childbearing? What if they had given up on the promise of bearing a child together from their own loins? We would not have known Abraham and Sarah, the father and mother of a spiritual nation. Or what about the dreamer Joseph. He was betrayed by his brothers, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and sent to prison, and forgotten by the baker, yet he held on to his dream and preserved his whole family. God gives the dream, and the grace to fulfill it, but he asks you to fight for it.
Eric Little, in the movie “Chariots of Fire,” was encouraged by his sister to give up running. He responded to her by saying, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.” Has God given you a dream or task that makes you feel his pleasure? Then, it is always too soon to quit.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing