Phil Niekro passed away on December 26, 2020. He is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. He played 24 seasons in Major League Baseball, with 20 of those seasons with the Braves in Milwaukee, then Atlanta. He kept on pitching in the big leagues until he was 48 years old, which is amazing. In fact, he had 121 victories after the age of 40, a major league record. His main pitch that kept him going all those years was a knuckleball.
Here’s the thing about a knuckleball pitch. Nobody knows where it is going. The pitcher doesn’t really know. The catcher is not sure. The umpire is not certain. And the batter doesn’t have a clue.
Sometimes, life comes at us just like that, like a knuckleball pitch. Like we are riding on a roller coaster and we don’t know what is coming next. The year 2020 certainly reminded us of that truth. The Old Testament book of Job reminds us: “People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire.” (Job 5:7)
But the good news of our faith is that especially in times of trouble, God is close to us. Psalm 46 affirms, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.”
Has life thrown you a knuckleball? Do you feel like you are on a roller coaster? Let’s hold on to this promise of scripture: God is with us in a close way, especially in the knuckleball days of life.