When Life Throws You a Curve
By Paul J. Palma
The curveball is a type of pitch in baseball thrown with a characteristic grip and hand movement that lends forward spin to the ball causing it to dive in a downward path as it approaches the plate. A "curve" causes the batter to think the ball is headed one way when the actual flight the ball takes is quite different.
My wife and I have a son of four years. About two years ago we agreed God wanted us to have another child. Then it happened! The pregnancy test came back positive and the early signs of pregnancy set in—morning sickness, mood swings, and strange food cravings. We couldn't wait to see the sonogram at our first check-up. It's an incredible experience seeing the first phases of life within the womb, a miracle of modern technology. The doctor pointed to the fetus on the overhead screen, then leaned in for a closer look. She took a step back, staring at us she said, "You're having twins!"
I nearly jumped out of my seat. My wife reached out for my hand as we looked at each other in wonder. In that moment, coupled with feelings of joy were feelings of perplexity. We came into the appointment with all the expectation a couple has when learning about the miracle of life forming within the womb. To our utter amazement, we encountered the miracle of life "times two!" We were so enthralled to be having a second child, it never crossed our minds we'd be having a third.
This meant double of everything—two car seats, a double stroller, a double bassinet. Pure joy and pure perplexity.
Life threw us a curve. We were expecting one thing but God had something greater in store. The Word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah declaring, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV).
The Lord heard our prayer. We asked for another child and exceeding our expectations, He answered us with two. On July 17 of this year my wife gave birth to two beautiful girls. The words of Ephesians 3:20 resounded in our hearts:
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all that we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (NIV).
God gave us more than we asked for and did something beyond what we thought or anticipated. In life we can't control the kinds of pitches we are thrown. But we can choose how we react.
One of the keys to hitting a curveball is "early recognition"—getting a beat on the type of pitch so you are ready to connect with the ball when it crosses the plate. This means knowing God's plans are not always our own. He is a God of the extraordinary. If we are ready for Him to do something out of the ordinary, when that day comes we will survive and perhaps even thrive. If we only expect fastballs, the curveballs of life will get the best of us, but if we are ready and anticipate them, we will be in a better position to connect with life's curves.
University of California engineering Professor Mont Hubbard showed that the type of spin a curveball has gives it more homerun potential than a fastball. So if you connect with it, when life throws you a curve, you might just be able to hit it out of the park. For my wife and I, a strong support network of family and friends allowed us to get a head start. Looking back, a curveball that may have thrown us off appeared as a pleasant surprise. Instead of a swing and a miss, we connected, and it looks like the ball is headed over the fence.
Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us (Psalm 40:5, NIV).
Copyright © 2014 Paul J. Palma. Used by permission.
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Paul J. Palma is a PhD Candidate in the School of Divinity at Regent University. He teaches courses in Biblical Studies at Regent and is a Partner Representative at CBN's National Prayer Center in Virginia Beach. Paul has authored or contributed to several books and has been published in a number of national and international journals. He and his wife, Gabrielle, have three children. For publications by Paul you can visit his website at www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-j-palma/34/422/b0b/.
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