Roy Hobbs stood at bat with runners on second and third bases, a ball and a strike in the count. He led the worst team in the league on an impossible run to the 1930 World Series, and the final game came down to him.
Hobbs was playing injured and the patches of blood on his jersey did not escape the notice of the catcher, who signaled the pitcher for an inside curve. A storm brewed in the night sky outside the stadium lights, but there was a hint of magic in the air.
Randy Newman’s composition began to play just after Hobbs’ bat connected with the ball; the sound of the collision resounded in the cosmos. The ball rocketed through right field and blasted one of the stadium lights as Newman’s music crescendoed. The stadium lights all began to burst, one after the next, and as Hobbs rounded the bases, white sparks bathed the field.
I still get goosebumps thinking about this scene from “The Natural.” I watched Robert Redford play the larger-than-life character with stars in my eyes at the impressionable age of nine. I’ve desperately wanted to take the proverbial field ever since.
I'll bet you have a similar story of inspiration. But when it comes to recognizing a defining moment, sports movies have a ridiculously unfair advantage over real life. The buildup to the critical moment is overflowing with drama – then it gets played in slow motion which is further helped by an orchestra.
We have no such experience in everyday life, otherwise it wouldn't be so easy to miss our own defining moments. These moments don't come with fireworks and stadiums full of cheering fans.
Cinderella stories still evoke something from us because they inspire our godly desires to advance the kingdom and glorify God. But we need lots of help closing the gap between our own dreams and our own reality. If only we could recognize those defining moments while we were in them – without the help of orchestras and editing.
But we can.
For those of us wanting to connect our passions and talents with something useful to the Kingdom, we must trust and obey; act in faith that God will use our passions and talents for something much greater than ourselves – and it rarely, if ever, comes down to one defining moment. This is a way of life; and a legacy is built brick by brick.
It starts with listening to that still, small voice. That’s why obedience – and a fellowship – are so important. They keep us firmly planted in the way that we should go.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
We don’t follow our passion, we follow the Spirit’s leading and we take our godly passion with us. We'll need it when we walk through the painful, uncertain, uncomfortable moments and seasons of life. But sooner than you think, you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come. God’s timing, method and calling are all made of greater stuff than we could come up with in our wildest dreams.
We must embrace the counter-intuitive direction from God, trusting that the holy desire He has created within us will find its object, one day, fully in Heaven; and until then, the journey that can only be experienced through obedience will be its own reward, because we will be living out our Father's calling, and we will have His good pleasure residing within us.
This is how the Church reclaims spiritual territory in Tucson: through us “ordinary” people, coming together in the name of the Lord for His glory.
You were made for this. You have a uniquely meaningful place in advancing the Kingdom of God. Would you like to fulfill your purpose in the mission field of Tucson? Join us. We have a place for you here.