Summary: The question isn’t WILL I face hurts? But, HOW will I face my hurts? We can learn from the life of Job how to endure the hurts that we experience in this life.
Intro: In 1988 The L.A. Dodgers were playing the first game of the World Series against the Oakland A’s. One of the Dodgers best players was Kirk Gibson, but in winning the pennant, Gibson played so intensely that he injured both legs. As the dodgers walked out for the opening game of the World Series, Gibson was sidelined, out of uniform. He sat in the clubhouse and listened to Dodger announcer Vince Scully repeat, “Gibson will not be playing tonight. He’s not even I the dugout.”
In the ninth inning it was announced that the pitcher would be hitting. When Gibson heard this he made up his mind to call Tommy Lasorda from the clubhouse and ask to bat for the pitcher. Kirk remembered thinking, even though I’m injured, when I walk on that field at Dodger Stadium and I hear that crowd, I won’t hurt anymore. I’m gonna go up and do my job. And I when I went out their the crowd went nuts; and it didn’t hurt. I looked at the pitcher and said under my breath, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got coming. We’re going to win this game, and I’m gonna win it for us.’“
The scene was played out in front of millions of television spectators. Commentators still recall today with awed fascination how out of the dugout came a severely limping Gibson. He winced with each step toward home plate. Despite his obvious pain, his eyes were on fire. He bravely took the first pitch from relief pitcher Dennis Eckersly. Strike one! The second pitch came past. Strike two! The pitcher struck out two of the previous batters and had walked only one. The tying run was at first base. Gibson would become the winning run.
Kirk was in emergency mode. He fought back and fought and fought until He got up to three balls and two strikes. One more strike and He was out. Now the scouts had told Kirk if Dennis Eckersly got him to three balls and two strikes, he would throw a backdoor slider. So Kirk stepped out of the batter’s box and said to himself, ‘as sure as I’m standing here I’m going to see a back door slider.’ Kirk stepped back into the box and connected with the backdoor slider and hit the game winning home run. The stadium erupted. The off-balance gait of Gibson as he hobbled around the bases with his hands arms in the air has been replayed in sports highlights over and over. He made the most triumphant lap of his life in the most important game of his life when he was hurt the most! The Oakland A’s never recovered, and the Dodgers went on to win the World Series.
Kirk Gipson could have quit and opted not to try. But it was in his adversity that the world witnessed what resolute drive he had. He became a hero to millions of sports fans around the world.
Many people today are hurting and have taken themselves out of the game of life. They can hear all the excitement going on outside but are trapped by fears, anger and hurts that haunt them from there past. Have you taken yourself out of the game of life because of some hurts you’ve experienced? What motivated Kirk Gibson to get out of the clubhouse even though he was injured? It was his will to win; it was that fire in his eyes that was driving him from within. Have you lost all motivation, all desire to move on, to get back to where God wants you to be?