Black-eye Summer

“REED” This


Black-eye Summer


I loved playing baseball when I was young. I think I’ve mentioned before that I played on the DeQueen Lions team from age eight to twelve. We practiced on one end of the elementary school playground. It was a pretty good spot, but the ground wasn’t always level. The water drained to that end, so the infield area where there wasn’t much grass usually had ruts where the water had washed the dirt out. This became a problem at times when trying to field a ground ball. You never knew just where the ball might go. Bad hops were always expected, but hard to guess when and where they might occur. It was early in the season, maybe before our first game, when I was playing second base during one of those practices. A ground ball was hit my way and I got my glove down and squared up to it so that I was ready to field it and throw it to first base. It was a hard hit ball, so it was coming at me pretty fast. Just before it got to my glove it took one of those bad hops. I tried to raise my glove when, bam! I felt a sharp pain. My reaction wasn’t fast enough to keep that ball from bouncing up and hitting my left eye. Bringing my hand up to my face I could immediately feel that it was swollen around my eye. Everything stopped as my coaches came over to look at me and it was determined that one of them needed to take me on home so my parents could tend to it. The next morning, it was a nice deep shade of purple. I had a black eye. Over the next few days, the swelling went down, leaving me with just the discoloration that seemed to linger for several weeks. I played almost that entire season with a black eye until the last game when it was finally back to normal. We usually played in a tournament down in Texarkana a few weeks later. So, we were practicing for that the week after our regular season. I was playing shortstop and a high pop-flyball was hit. I ran back a bit looking up as I tracked it and just as it was almost down the sun got in my eyes and I flinched. Bam! I threw my glove down and said, “Dad-gum-it! The same eye!” Sure enough, that ball hit my left eye and it swelled right back up and the next morning it looked just as it did after the first time. I couldn’t believe I had another black eye in the same eye.


Why do bad things keep happening? We go through one difficulty and finally struggle to get through it when, bam, we are hit again. At times it seems we can never catch a break. The difficulties and struggles of life are relentless. They keep coming and hitting us. Our world is in constant stress with this: there seems to be peace and then terrorists take over; it’s a pleasant day and then an earthquake hits; we relax when things are calming down with the pandemic and then the numbers spike up again. And we all are facing other difficulties in our individual lives this summer on top of these things. It is a difficult time, but our God is bigger than all of it. We must continue to have faith in our God. In Joshua 1:9, when Joshua was beginning to lead the people of Israel after Moses died, God told him to “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Our faith must be strong like Joshua’s. He didn’t know what he would face when he crossed over the Jordan river into the promised land, but he knew God would be with him and give him the strength he needed. We serve the same God. His promises for us are the same. Jesus says in Matthew 28:20b, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We don’t know what we will face or what we will have to go through, but we know our God is with us and will see us through. And we can find great comfort and encouragement from 1 Peter 1:6-7, “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious that mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”


When the world keeps giving you black eyes, remember to keep your faith in God. He is always with you and will give you the strength to endure. “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18


Bro. Paul Reed


Tuesday, August 17, 2021