Sudden Thunder

After missing the postseason for the first time in years, fans of the Los Angeles Angels watched and waited (not altogether patiently) to see what owner Arte Moreno, GM Tony Reagins and skipper Mike Scioscia were going to do to improve the club for a return to the top of the American League West and the playoffs. Then, one by one, the desirable free agent targets identified by the Angels brass were snatched up by other powerhouse clubs (Carl Crawford to the Red Sox, Adrian Beltre to division rival Texas). Once again, the phrase “winter of discontent” seemed the only way to describe the disappointment of Angels fans who were waiting for the big bat to protect Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales in the middle of the Halo lineup. Blogs, sportswriters, and analysts all panned the wintertime silence. Have the Angels struck out again? Is the lack of activity in the winter going to lead to another summer lacking in runs and wins?

Discontent is perhaps the mildest way to describe the average Angels fan—until Friday. Suddenly the silence was pierced by the thunder of a shocking move that seemed to come out of nowhere as, to the surprise of baseball people everywhere, the Angels swooped in and traded for Vernon Wells of Toronto. Now the buzz around Anaheim is less populated by moaning and groaning, and more evidenced by the excitement and anticipation of the new season starting in just a matter of weeks. At the eleventh hour, when it seemed that the much-longed-for big bat would never arrive and that the Angels brass would never act, the thunder pierced the air and the deal was done.

Sometimes, when we face difficult challenges or seemingly irreversible circumstances, it can feel like God is never going to respond to our prayers and act on our behalf. The endless stream of unanswered prayers seem to mock us with the message that either God is not there or He simply doesn’t care. But God’s timing is always perfect. He makes no mistakes. Sports executives may act too slowly (or too quickly) for their fans, but we can be assured that God has never been late in all of eternity. He acts in ways that are always in our best interests, and always at the right time. As the Old Testament preacher declared:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

“In its time.” Delay is not always the enemy. Sometimes it is the key ingredient to realizing the eternal purposes of God in our daily living as His children. Sometimes the solution is not crossing our fingers and hoping for sudden thunder—it is simply trusting God that He knows what He’s doing. All the time.

Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain