Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” -Jonah 3:1-2
The fateful day was September 14, 1986. Third baseman Bob Brenly was about to experience one of the worst days of his life. The San Francisco Giant tied a major league record by committing four errors in one inning.
First, Bob let an easy ground ball bounce off his glove. Second, he bobbled another easy catch. Third, he actually caught the ball, but threw it twenty feet over the catcher’s head.
Fourth, another ground ball came Brenly’s way. A reporter, relating that ball to a live grenade, said, “Should Brenly throw himself on it and save his teammates, thereby salvaging a measure of honor in death, or turn and run? Courageously , he stood his ground, and the ball kicked off his glove.”
The opposing Atlanta Braves scored four unearned runs because of Brenly’s errors.
The next day Bob told reporters of his despair, humiliation, after error number four. “You know how you hear the old saying, ‘If you make an error you want the next ball‘? After the fourth one, I never wanted to see the ball again.”
After that inning he hid in a tunnel trying to pull himself together. Ever had a day like that?
But Bob Brenly did not give up. In the same ball game, in his next two at bats he hit a home run and a single.
In the bottom of the ninth inning Bob came to bat again. The Giants had two outs and the score was tied. With a full count of three balls, two strikes, a miracle happened. He hit the next pitch for a home run to win the game.
About his four errors in one inning, Bob said, “It’s easy to laugh now, but I was ready to commit suicide. If I could’ve found something sharp, I would’ve slashed my wrists.” Because he did not quit, he heard boos turn to cheers.
Fifteen years later Brenly was the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In games four and five of the World Series against the New York Yankees, the Diamonbacks were just one out from a win. Each time the Yankees came from behind and won the game. After those two crushing defeats, in the seventh and final game, the Diamondbacks came from behind in the bottom of the ninth and won 3-2. Perhaps part of that was because Manager Brenly understood that you never give up, and sometimes you get a second chance.
Did you foul up in 2009? Have you failed? Christianity is a faith of grace, mercy, forgiveness. Jesus, God the Son, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, and miraculously rose again. He gives us the gift of salvation, forgiveness, eternal life when we turn our lives over to Him. Even after we accept Him as Savior, we continue to sin, we sometimes fail. Yet Jesus loves us still and comes to us again. Jesus Christ offers His mercy and forgiveness, if we will simply confess our sins to Him, and get back in the ballgame. God is a God of the second chance. So whatever your failures, make your life count in the Year of our Lord, 2010.
May you all have a Happy New Year.
Reference: WORLD magazine, Marvin Olasky, November 17, 2001.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 30, AD 2009.