Listening to the Shepherd’s voice in a time of anger

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 16, 2017

The crack of the bat resounded through the sultry summer air.  Barbara scooped up the hot grounder and shot the ball to first.  Anne made the out and threw the ball to second base.  I snagged it, looked to my left and saw I had plenty of time to make the play. 

The runner from first, though running hard, was nowhere near making it to second.  I tagged my base with the ball securely in my glove and turned to hurl it to home plate.  We were competing for the church league championship, and I smiled with the knowledge that my team was doing well.  Anne and I would talk about this double play for a while.

Suddenly, I felt as if a freight train had hit me from behind.  I found myself on the ground struggling to catch my breath, but I did my job and hung onto the ball.   To say I was astonished is an understatement.  We played to win on Roseland Park’s team, but never played dirty.

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I picked all 110 pounds of myself up and turned with fist drawn back ready for payback.   The fury I felt clouded my judgment, and I was loaded for bear. In the split second before I busted my knuckles on the face of the runner a voice carried above the noise of the crowd.

Mr. Lamar McQueen, Barbara’s grandpa and my friend, yelled at the top of his lungs, “Don’t do it, Jan!” I loved and trusted Mr. Lamar.  When I heard his voice I lowered my fist and took a deep breath.

Mr. Lamar is now with Jesus, and has been for a long time.  I ran into Barbara yesterday and we got to talking.  I told her that her grandpa saved my life all those years ago.  She didn’t remember the story, nor did Anne, but I have never forgotten how the advice of someone I trusted and respected saved me from a world of hurt.

You see the other team brought in scrappy players from the city league to pad their team for this game.  We knew that new people were on the roster. Our coach was aggravated to say the least, but didn’t want to make a fuss. 

The runner was known around town as a fighter; she was tough.  I had never been in a fight in my life so I’m fairly certain she could have done quite a bit of damage to my skinny self before someone could pull her off of me.   So you see, I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Lamar for saving my skin.

Not only that, but he kept me from dishonoring my team and my Savior.  This Godly man didn’t sit in the stands and whisper, “Oh no.  Jan is making a big mistake.”  He stood up, cupped his hands, reared back, and let out a yell.  Because I knew his voice I heard him over my anger and the noise of the crowd.

John 10:27 KJV: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 

By Jan Penton Miller