It was the bottom of the ninth inning with one out to go. Aly stood on first base, as helpless as the well-wishing fans in the stands.
Although she was on first base for the moment, all Aly could do was watch and pray that her teammate would get a hit.
Aly’s emotions ran the gamut as she heard the umpire call out his strikes and balls. Her team was down by one run, and Aly represented the tying run.
Aly now waited with baited breath as the pitcher threw the ball toward home plate. Out of habit, she took a few steps toward second base.
Aly heard the ball hit the catcher’s glove and instantly heard the umpire say, “Ball four, take your base.”
Instead of walking to second base, Aly for some reason took off running.
The catcher became aware of this action. Years of condition response took over and she found herself throwing the ball to second base.
The problem was that there wasn’t an alert second baseman awaiting the throw, since it was after a walk. The catcher’s thrown ball sailed into the outfield.
The fans suddenly became alive. One coach yelled, “Run!”
The other coach yelled some things I probably should not print.
As Aly made the turn, the third base coach was frantically waving her home.
Just as the outfielder’s throw arrived at the plate, Aly crossed home plate to tie the game.
With so much attention being paid to Aly, only a few players noticed that her teammate had taken a cue from Aly and was now running.
Like Pavlov’s dog, the catcher once again threw the ball to second base. Once again the second baseman was nowhere to be found, and the ball sailed into the outfield.
“Run!” shouted the third base coach.
“Colorful metaphors!” shouted the opposing coach.
As the runner advanced to third base, the outfielder threw the ball toward third base. The wild and high throw came to rest inside the opponent’s dugout.
There is a little-known rule that allows a team to take a single base if a thrown ball lands inside the dugout. As a result, the once-walked runner was able to walk home for the winning score.
All of this happened because an athlete ran when she could have walked. As it is in sports, so it is in life. I have found many times in my Christian walk that the same could be said of me. It is as if I have my fire insurance and that’s good enough.
You may recall Jonah refusing to go and preach in Nineveh, until he spent three days in the belly of a fish.
Once that ordeal was over Jonah, too, found his running legs.
Jeremiah became discouraged and refused to preach, only to proclaim, “It was like fire shut up in his bones.”
Paul compares the Christian walk with being an athlete, and admonishes us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”