I realized it for the first time in my life: there is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don't even know it.
- Sue Monk Kidd
“I want to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.” –Joe DiMaggio
If you’re not a sports fan, you probably haven’t been following the Major League Baseball offseason. You may not be aware that the league’s best second baseman, Robinson Cano, is a free agent, being aggressively pursued by the New York Yankees (whom he played for last year) and the Seattle Mariners.
But over the Thanksgiving holiday, it was all the sports nuts in my family could talk about. We’re all huge Yankees fans–both my father and father-in-law gave shout-outs to the Yankees in the speeches they made on my wedding day–and the prospect of going into next season without our team’s best hitter (sorry, Derek Jeter) weighed heavily on our minds. Especially after missing the playoffs this year.
I have more faith than others that Robbie will stay in New York. Three years ago, there was talk of our legendary shortstop Derek Jeter leaving town for the hated Boston Red Sox. The Yankees contract offer was just too low. “They’ll offer him $51 million for 3 years, and he’ll sign,” I said back then. I pretty much chose that number at random; it hadn’t been reported anywhere. Sure enough, a few weeks later, Derek re-signed with the Yanks... for $51 million over 3 years.
Is God a sports fan? Does he hear our prayers for victory on the field? As our editor-in-chief, Edward Grinnan, wrote in a blog post about Tim Tebow last year, “God couldn’t give a heavenly hoot.” Of course, I agree... although I still believe that Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood’s missed field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXV suspiciously veered to the right just as a four-year-old boy in Ocean Township, New Jersey, was fervently praying for the New York Giants to win.
But I digress. Just because the success of our favorite sports team doesn’t depend on God doesn’t mean he doesn’t work through them. A photo of former Yankees relief pitcher Sparky Lyle helped show my future father-in-law that I was destined to marry his daughter. A foul ball helped a father make his middle child feel just as loved as her siblings. A mysterious veteran pitcher appeared to teach a young player how to navigate a baseball career–and life. Your prayers may not help your team win... but God might use your team to make sure that you do.
Robbie does have faith, even if he wasn’t quite right about God delivering the Yankees to the playoffs. I’ll be praying for him to choose the Yanks. But even if God doesn’t deliver, I’ll continue to look for signs and wonders on the baseball diamond and elsewhere. The Lord may not give a hoot about your home team, but he still roots for us.
Has your favorite team or athlete been a part of your Mysterious Ways story? Share your experience with us!