Last night my son and his baseball buddies played their first game of 8U coach pitch. It is a new season, a new league, and a new set of rules. They can steal bases, which is great offensively but also requires more strategic understanding defensively. They have more to be aware of in the field, and when on the offensive side, their success lies in keeping their eyes and ears locked in to their base coaches, not what is happening in the field, in the dugout, or the stands.
The top half of the first inning was brutal. The other team was batting (and boy could they bat!) and our boys seemed jittery and confused by the new level of play. The parents (myself included) seemed to settle back in preparation for a tough game and a new season with a significant learning curve.
But then the boys seemed to take a deep breath, look around, make eye contact with the coaches and started to play the "new" game. Not without mistakes, but with new resolve. In the span of one inning, they seemed to understand that what made them successful in the last season was not the same thing that would make them successful in this season. They had to depend on their coaches and each other to make the adjustments needed to stay in the game.
They came from behind and won. It didn't take them an entire season to figure it out. They didn't dig in their heels and demand to play by the old season's rules. They realized they could be contenders if, and only if, they were willing to keep learning the game.
American philosopher Eric Hoffer once said, "In times of change, learners inherit the earth while the learned find themselves beautifully prepared for a world that no longer exists."
To be a continuous learner requires humility. We don't grow beyond our willingness to be taught, stretched, and challenged. Cockiness says, "I know it already!" but humility is that chord in us that admits, "The more I know, the more I realize I don't know."
A new season is upon us as believers. It is a new game, in a new league, with new rules. The field of play is different. Like the boys locked eyes with their coaches for direction, will we lock eyes with Jesus for our direction? Will we spend this season white-knuckling the strategic ways of last season, and thereby miss what God has for us here, or will we open ourselves to the new revelations God is sending forth for our success in this season?
Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them! (Isaiah 42:9)
Resistance is futile. But thriving isn't. Embracing the new means we recognize we don't yet know what we don't know, but that the Lord is faithful to supply us with the supernatural wisdom we each need to successfully navigate the new times. As we follow His lead, we will increasingly find ourselves set apart and positioned as people thriving in the midst of unusual times, and therefore establish new and wider platforms to share the truth, love, and salvation of Jesus to a confused world.