You may or may not be a baseball fan, but you've probably heard about the Shannon Stone tragedy that occured last season at Rangers Stadium in Arlington, Texas. During the game, Josh Hamilton, star outfielder for the Texas Rangers, threw a foul ball into the stands. Thirty-nine year old Shannon Stone reached over the ledge to catch the ball for his son Cooper who idolized Josh Hamilton, but Shannon reached too far and fell over the ledge to his death. The entire stadium was in shock, including Josh Hamilton. A young boy lost his father who was simply trying to secure a souvenir for his son. It's tragedies such as these that send us searching for life's toughest, spiritual explanations.
Shortly after the accident, there was a great deal of discussion in the news over whether or not foul balls should be thrown into the stands by players on the field. Even Josh Hamilton questioned his motives. But during the heat of the debates, Suzann Stone, the mother of deceased Shannon Stone, wrote a letter to Josh Hamilton.
In the letter she told the story of how her husband Al used to take Shannon to games when he was young. One day, Shannon's favorite player Buddy Bell threw a foul ball into the stands, and Al wrestled the crowd to catch the ball for Shannon, and the ball became a treasure in their family. Suzann said that without a doubt she knew this is why Shannon leaned over the edge to catch the ball for his son, Coooper. And then she concluded her letter with this plea, "Please, don't stop throwing those balls, because that's so important. That's why daddies bring their little boys to the ballgame--for reasons like that. Please, don't stop."
As Christians, if God was going to write us a letter, I wonder if the wording would be similar. When we question our faith, and when we struggle with our committment and devotion to Him, I wonder if God would write, "Please don't stop, because your faith is so important. That's why my only Son died for you, and that's why I created you--so one day we can be together in paradise. Please, don't stop."
Even in tragedy, God gives us His plea. When the wind blows, and when we feel lost and alone, God says, "Please don't stop! I'm right here with you!"