Over 22 seasons as a major leaguer, Bill Buckner batted just under .300 and had over 2,700 hits. But he is best remembered for a ground ball he failed to field.
It was Game Six of the 1986 World Series and the Boston Red Sox were up 3 games to 2 over the New York Mets. The game went into extra innings, with the Mets having the winning run at second base.
Mookie Wilson tapped a slow-rolling grounder towards Buckner at first base. What should have been a routine play turned out to be the black mark of Buckner’s career. The ball rolled under his glove and into right field, allowing the winning run to score.
After twenty-two seasons of professional baseball, the mention of Buckner’s name brings to mind his failure – not his many successes.
Life can be that way.
Jimmy Swaggart. Bernie Madoff. Lindsey Lohan. Ted Haggard. Richard Nixon. Leon Lett (you might have to look that one up).
When you read their names, was your first impression positive or negative?
Perhaps celebrities bear in public what many of us suffer through privately. You don’t have to be famous to feel the sting of disappointment; all broken lives have jagged edges.
Thankfully we don’t have the media following our every move, reporting our every failure. But we do have a spiritual adversary who is more than happy to exploit our sense of brokenness.
At its core, our brokenness is the result of being separated from God. Theologically, we live in a fallen world that continues to be fractured by sinful choices – more often than not, our own sinful choices.
Since the beginning of time, men and women have sought repair the damage done by sin … with less-than-stellar results.
We try to medicate our pain, believing it will go away if we no longer feel it. Or we might even become friends with our pain, allowing our brokenness to become our identity. And for church-going folks, we sometimes act as if our restoration depends on our own goodness.
The message of Easter is this: if God can raise Jesus from the dead, he can take your dead-end life and make it new. When we surrender to God, something miraculous happens:
“… just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).