He'll Stand With You

for the week of May 14, 2001
by Rubel Shelly

A bunch of rowdy fans nearly cost the Minnesota Twins a baseball game they went on to win by a 4-2 score over the New York Yankees last week. It was Wednesday night, May 2, and the scene was not very pretty.

Chuck Knoblauch used to play with the Twins but asked to be traded at the end of the 1997 season. A trade was worked out with the Yankees that has proved good for both teams. Two of the three players swapped for Knoblauch have figured big in the fact that the Twins are in first place in their division now.

At any rate, some fans apparently took it upon themselves to register their disdain with Knoblauch. Spectators in the Metrodome began pelting the Yankee's left-fielder with hot dogs, bottles, golf balls, and other debris. The umpires came close to calling the game and awarding the Yankees a forfeit victory. The stadium announcer's pleas didn't restore calm. The visiting team was pulled off the field.

After play had been stopped for several minutes, the umpires asked the New Yorkers to take the field and try to finish the game. What would happen? Would Knoblauch's reappearance generate a new round of ugliness? Should he take the risk of getting hurt? Was there anything that could be done?

When the Yankees began their cautious return to the field, the manager of the Minnesota Twins did a magnificent thing. This man who is so highly respected by his own team and its fans walked out to left field alongside Chuck Knoblauch. He stood beside him, talked with him, and said, "Hang in there, Chuck."

Nothing was thrown at them. And many of the 36,825 fans attending the game applauded the sportsmanship and guidance of their team's leader.

When I heard the story and saw the photo of the two men together in the stadium outfield, I thought of the Incarnation. And I thought about you and me.

Life can be nasty. We bring a lot of it on ourselves. Some of it seems to come from nowhere. All of it is dangerous to our spiritual well-being. Then we find out that God has come among us. He has been tested by the very same things we are facing. He overcame it all even death. And today he encourages you to hang in there and promises to stand with you in your most difficult moments.

"We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. . . . So let's walk right up to [Jesus] and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help" (Hebrews 4:16, The Message).

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