Roy Hobbs, the mythical baseball player, played by Robert Redford, in the movie, The Natural, steps up to the plate. It’s the bottom of the 9th inning, with 2 outs and runners on first and third. It’s the National League Pennant game. Hobbs’ team, The Knights, are down 2-0. He’s literally their last hope. Ever since childhood, Hobbs has played with a bat that he forged as a kid. This has been his golden bat, his magical bat. The bat has carved upon it, “Wonder Boy.” That bat is the symbol of his greatness, his strength and his heart. He fouls off the third pitch, high into the bleachers in right field. As Hobbs jogs back to the plate, he finds his bat shattered on the ground.
Hobbs stares at his broken bat. His dreams, his hopes, and his boyhood strength shattered. Every man comes to a place in his life where all his dreams are shattered. This is a critical place for every man: being fired from a job or church; filing for bankruptcy or divorce. The magical bat, that has carried him through life, is laying at his feet, shattered.
Everyone is watching. What will he do? Quit and walk off the field? Give up and become bitter? Repair the bat and work to put the broken pieces back together?
Roy Hobbs looks to the little, chubby bat boy, Bobby Savoy, and says, “Pick me out a winner.” With the “Savoy Special,” Hobbs hits the game-winning home run.
God is in the work of breaking us of our strength, our greatness, even our boyhood dreams, to replace it with a new strength. God will strip us of our magical bat, our natural talents. Will we take up the new bat, the new self, the “Christ in you, the hope of glory?” (Colossians 1:27, NLT).
John Eldredge writes, “True strength does not come out of bravado. Until we are broken, our life will be self-centered, self-reliant; our strength will be our own. So (sic) long as you think you are really something in and of yourself, what will you need God for?”
God breaks us and wounds our heart, that we might discover a new strength; a new, deeper work. Until we are shattered of our own strength, the strength we forged since childhood, we neither experience the Christ-self, the new power, nor His strength within.
On the Road Less Traveled,
Steve Holt D.D. MA