HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS
“IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER”
Three times this year during the regular major league baseball season a pitcher got as far as two outs in the ninth inning with a no-hitter only for an opposing batter to get a hit and the no-hitter go down the drain. On April 9, Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers lost his bid for a no-hitter against the Houston Astros after getting as far as two outs in the ninth inning without surrendering a hit. San Francisco’s Yusmeiro Petit did the same against the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 6. Then on September 25 St. Louis Cardinals’ rookie pitcher, Michael Wacha, had a no-hitter going with two outs in the ninth when the Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman beat out a slow chopper over the pitcher’s head for an infield hit. The play at first was not even close. The Cardinals’ shortstop fielded the slow high bouncing ball with his bare hand and hurried his throw to first base, pulling the first baseman off the bag. As the ball left Zimmerman’s bat several on the Cardinals’ bench had started to climb over the dugout railing, ready to pour onto the field to celebrate a no-hitter. Second baseman Matt Carpenter did a little hop, all set for the final out. But it was not to be; the no-hitter was lost. (The next Nationals’ batter grounded out and Wacha wound up with a one-hitter and the Cardinals won 2-0.) On the last day of the regular season, Miami Marlins’ rookie pitcher Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers. Ironically, the Marlins’ lone run scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth with Alvarez himself waiting in the batter’s box to be the next hitter. Of the 282 no-hitters in major league history, it is the only one to end on a wild pitch.
Baseball great and New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” (Yogi went on to make another name for himself as the originator of “philosophical” statements!) The statement expresses a biblical truth, though it is unlikely that Yogi intended it as such. Jesus reminded His apostles, “He who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22). To the tribulation-torn saints in Smyrna Jesus said, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10, KJV, ASV, RSV). (I understand that in the context Jesus is likely saying, “Be faithful even to the point of dying for your faith [suffering martyrdom].” But we also are urged to be faithful until death to be faithful to Christ all the days of our lives. [See Revelation 2:10 in the NKJV and NASV, as well as the overall teaching of the New Testament regarding fidelity to the Lord]).
One of the apostle Paul’s many co-laborers in the gospel was a man by the name of Demas. In Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24 (both written around A. D. 61-63), Demas is mentioned favorably, along with such men as Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, and Luke. Regrettably, however, by the time Paul penned his last letterII Timothyin about A. D. 67-68 Demas had forsaken Paul (and, by implication, the cause of Christ), “having loved this present world” (II Timothy 4:10). Think about it: For years a faithful worker for the Lord, only to throw it all away toward the end! The pages of the Bible as well as the pages of the history of those committed to the restoration of apostolic Christianity bear record of apostates, turncoats, defectors, and quitters. How unspeakably sad!
How different it was with Paul himself. Starting out in life as a raging enemy of Christ and a rabid persecutor of Christians, Paul was converted to the Lord and spent the rest of his life faithfully serving Him. As he approached the end of his life he wrote, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto them also that love his appearing” (II Timothy 4:6-8).
The Lord does not expect us to pitch a no-hitter in life (to be sinlessly perfect). He does expect us to be faithful. He wants us to persevere to the endto “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). He wants us to know that “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
October 1, 2013