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When life throws you a nasty curve ball…


When was the last time you went for it and all you had to say when it was over was, “Ouch…that’s not what I had in mind.” Did you notice that I didn’t ask IF it has ever happened? Its happened to every one of us. The picture above is a perfect representation on what I’m stating here. Just minutes before the moment this picture was taken, this player stepped out of the dugout. He envisioned hitting the ball. Let’s just say he envisioned stepping up and hitting a simple base hit to bring in the winning run to end the game. As you can tell by the picture, he ended his at bat with, “Ouch, that’s not what I had in mind.” He ended the game lying on the ground groaning and in the world’s eyes, a loser. And this happens to every one of us. Every one. Some of you might try to argue with me and push back and say that some people just seem to have a silver spoon in their mouth all their lives and everything just seems to go there way. I would like to believe that, but I know, without a single doubt, that is just not the case. Some seem to just be lucky…but really…all the time? Some just always land on their feet all the time, right? The answer again is no. That’s not the case. That seems to only work with cats. They always land on their feet. I grew up on the farm and actually tested if cats always land on their feet. I have done a “clinical trial” on this and its not a myth! LOL. Sorry…back to point.

Here’s the deal. NOBODY! Is the answer to the question of, “Who does life always go well for?”

The wisest man in the world was Solomon of the Old Testament. In the early part of Solomon’s reign as King, he lived such a pleasing life to God that God told Solomon He would give him anything he asked for. What would you ask for? That is the only time in the Bible where we see God playing a role that we’ve all wished would happen to us. The Genie in a bottle wish!!! But this is not a blue Genie…this is God. What a moment for Solomon. I don’t know what you would ask for, but Solomon asked for Wisdom to lead the people that God put him in charge of. What a humble and wise choice. God granted it and was so pleased with Solomon’s request He went ahead and gave him riches and long life to go with it! I tell this story to illustrate that even such a pleasing and wise man like Solomon had a rough life ahead of him. The Old Testament is loaded with stories where things started going really bad for Solomon. Life has bad moments for EVERYBODY.

Why am I writing about this right now? Simply because I have had the most “hellashish” year of my life of the 41 years so far. You know what is really scary? There is never a guarantee that it will get better. I’m not writing this desiring to seek your sympathy. Writing is how I vent. I hope that by writing this, some of you might actually be encouraged by my venting. Sick isn’t it? Some people, in their effort to make you feel better when things are going bad for you, will throw out the cliche of, “hang in there…it always gets better.” or “When God gives you lemons, make lemonade.” or they share the Bible verse Romans 8:28, “And God causes everything to work for good.” or 1 Corinthians 10:13, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” If you are like me, you just want to say to them, thanks, but shut up!” Okay…maybe I’m the only one that wants to say that. I’ll try to only speak for myself. But really…there is a time for those phrases to be thought of, brought up, spoken and studied. But none of them help on the spot or make you feel better when you’ve just been hit in the nuts by a curve ball from life itself. If you are women reading this, I’m not sure what body part is comparable to the pain I refer to for men when we get hit “there.” I think I can speak for all men by asking you ladies to let us know. Don’t play around with us on this one. We really mean it when we say it hurts. I’m not sure you have anything comparable.

Today I got a call that rocked my world…yep…I feel like the picture above. Hence the “hint” of cynicism in this blog post. The call didn’t go the way I planned. The call didn’t go the way I prepared. Maybe it hurts so bad because I literally felt “clarity” from God as to what His will was. So I committed. I went all in. I stepped up to the plate and intended to hit a grand slam. I was so confident that I put all my eggs in one basket. Then came the call. Weird…I had a gut feeling the call was coming today. It did. But when the call was over, my wife left the room because she knew I was going to weep. And I did. The eggs, all in one basket, were mine and this curve ball hit me right in the eggs! When I hung up, all I could do was bend over and cry.

It sucks. I’m writing this blog now, exactly 8 hours after the call that knocked the wind out of me. Its kind of strange. I’m okay. I think this past year and the curve balls that have been thrown at me and I swung and missed….swung and missed…but the ball kept hitting me. Over and over…it has actually toughened me up. I am better from it all. I am wiser. I am smarter. I am more experienced. I am more mature. I am more aware. I am less naive. I am a bit hardened. The hits seem to hurt less and less. I am a bit more sly. I will not let it make me bitter! I actually have landed on my feet!

You see, I am convinced that the world’s perspective says that I failed because the phone call didn’t go my way. I failed because I struck out. I failed because my plans didn’t go the way I dreamed they would. So, the world says that everybody fails. But here is the deal. God does work everything out for good. God does turn things that were intended to harm and He uses them for good. You can make lemonade from lemons. Those phrases have a lot of truth. I still wish people would time the speaking of the phrases with more common sense.

I suppose all of this is about attitude. My identity is not founded in my daily circumstances. The phone call that didn’t go the way I dreamed it would does not define me. That person who betrayed you and you never saw it coming, does not define who you are. Day after day and year after year, the struggles you face do not define you. You are not lucky or unlucky. You are living life. I am living life. And life is daily.

God never intended it all…life…to go this way.

There is some real depth in what Jesus says in Matthew 5 verse 1 and following.

Blessed are the poor.
Blessed are those who mourn.
Blessed are the humble.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice.
Blessed are the merciful.
Blessed are the pure.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Blessed are the persecuted.

Verse 12 says…Be happy about those things.

I say…WHAT? Are you out of your mind God?! Happy about the curve ball that landed where I never dreamed it would? Are you crazy!?

This year has been a year of getting hit…over and over. Yet, above, I just listed a lot of positive traits that have been formed in me. The reality is this. They would not have formed in me had I not gone through some very trying and hard circumstances.

Back to the Bible list above. If I don’t need God then I think I have it all and thus am not POOR. But I recognize that I deeply need God. I am so poor in so many ways without him. In life, poor is rarely about money. I am simply not able without God. The world would see that as poor. God says I am blessed because I know I am poor and need Him. The list says, MOURN. How could I mourn if I didn’t have bad things happen to me or go through tough times? Dreams broken, relationships fractured, plans destroyed. God never intended for the world to be like this. God planned a perfect world. I recognize this now with more clarity than ever. I long for the Heaven that God describes because it will be like God planned in the Garden when He first created it all. Because I know that life will never be perfect until Jesus comes back…it causes me to mourn the loss of what was supposed to be. “Blessed are those who mourn.”
HUMBLE. How could I ever be humble if I have never been humbled. Humility doesn’t come when things always go well. Humility is formed through pain and brokenness. No…the ones that should worry are the ones who are so proud and confident in themselves that they are never humble. Blessed are the humble. HUNGER & THIRST FOR JUSTICE How could you ever desire justice if nothing ever went wrong? MERCIFULOnly those who have been through hardship and experienced pain can have true mercy for others going through what they have experienced. PURE Purity comes through fire. Think of diamonds, gold, sharpening swords. The purity they contain comes from heat, grinding and friction.

You get the point?

Why do bad things happen to good people? That’s such a dumb question! With the fallen world we live in…the real question is…How does anything good ever happen?

So…when we feel like the guy in the picture. The only thing we can do is crawl to God grasping our groin and trying to catch our breath. I want to ask why the bad happened…but it never helps. All I can do is cling to God who loves me. All I can do is think about the good that I have in my life. Dwell on those things that are beautiful. Think about the things that make me smile. Focus on the joy that is around me if I look for it.

Go ahead….Throw me another curve ball. I will never stop swinging. No matter what.

I am blessed.
You are too!
Keep stepping up to the plate and dreaming that you’re gonna connect. The odds are that you will sooner or later connect.
What is your other option?
Trent


28 Comments

  • Reply Dareth |

    I have a lot to say about this post… I really do. From the depths of my heart, although not exactly the same, I too know heartache! I just want to say AMEN to your written thoughts!

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply kelli renner |

    We have been in the raft heading down the white water…….we have made it through several tough rapids. Just when we think that must have been the big one……another one is up ahead. That last one was a crazy ride and the waters feel a bit calm now but I am hearing something big…really big rumbling up ahead. Oh my gosh……hold on tight……keep paddling whatever you do……oh my gosh it is loud!………I am glad I am in this raft with you….lets do this….woohooooooo πŸ™‚

  • Reply Rebecca Perrault |

    Thank you Trent. Just got handed one of the biggest curve balls I NEVER saw coming because I believed that this is where God was leading me and telling me what to do. So, I did what you did in your situation. Went all in and, now I’m left with nothing. This just happened… and then finding your status about this blog… God was giving me hope and direction to get through it. Because I too don’t like to hear the normal responses…I feel like telling them to shut up, but for some reason this post touched me and made me open my eyes and heart a little more. Thank you, I can’t tell you how much more confident I am in myself and my God right now.

  • Reply Stephen W |

    Trent, Karen and I were hit with that same “curve ball” today and yes you are right it does SUCK! I am so proud of my wife for staying strong and getting back in the box. That’s the difference in how you deal with the curve ball that hit directly in the “eggs”, is how soon you trust God that all will work out to His plan not ours. How fast do we use the bat to beat the mud out of the cleats and dig bag in to the the box and get ready to hit? Christ is the only one that I know of that will heal that hurt and get you back in the game! TR your blogging does not fall on a blind eye, they are read and much appreciated, at least by me! As I like to say “preach it brotha”. I’m sorry you were hit, I’m sorry we were hit, however I’m not sorry for the life lessons that are being taught and the trust in our Father that is being built and the closeness that Karen and I are sharing! It looks the same between you and Kelli as well. Be blessed my friend and “PLAY BALL”…

  • Reply Brenda Eaglin |

    Trent,
    Thank you for sharing and being transparent. I will admit I have been hit more than once by a
    curve ball in my life. I was never athletic so that didn’t help. I never planned on being a single mom and certainly didn’t think I would be alone when my children grew up and left the the nest. But it has
    made me rely on God. I have to admit with all the curve balls God was pruning me and conforming
    me into the image of His son. Hence all things work for good for those who love the Lord and are called
    according to His purpose.
    I would not change a thing that has happened to me hind sight because as you said it has made
    me a better person. Better not bitter.

    Brenda <

  • Reply netser |

    You blog as well as you preach …. I LOVE this and AGREE … I learn so much from my own curve balls and also watching the curve balls of others and one thing I realize is that even though I dont have the body parts to reference to I understand the description of the pain and sometimes even when you are not the person getting hit but you witness the hit… somehow you still hunch over in pain for that person and want to run to their rescue with ice or something !!! I believe that is good intentions of good people ! and in their good intentions they may apply to much pressure … ouch !! sorry if I have done that … Empathy/Restorative people screw this up alot ……. I once heard this amazing preacher say its not the ” why God” but the “what now God ” .. again maybe bad timing for that phrase but deal with Renner ….. God is good and people suck ….. I know that made you laugh !!! We Love your family and pray EVERYday !!

  • Reply Preston Lambrecht |

    Hey Trent,

    I have been living in the after math of a curve ball for the past two years. There is another opportunity to go all in and I have been having a hard time wanting to throw it all in again. Reading your blog could not have come at a better time! I appreciate your thoughts and your vision for life. This has helped give me the confidence to throw all my eggs into another basket and see how it plays out. Thanks again Trent! You and Kelli are in my prayers!

  • Reply Kevin Carlson |

    I hear your pain, friend. I came really lose to getting knocked out of the batter’s box a couple of times these past three years. Drop me a line of I can help or if you’d like to talk.

  • Reply keith pavia |

    Trent, Thanks for sharing. I always like when we can relate things to sports. The biggest thing about hitting a curve ball is sitting back, keeping your hands back and your weight balanced. When you are fooled by the curve ball that is when the swing looks like crap. I bring this up because I feel it is vital that we are constantly seeking God and arming ourselves with the Spirit so we are ready for that curve ball. (which we never seem ready) In Nehemiah I was reading in chapter 9 which is titled “The People Confess Their Sins.” Well after sharing with us how God chose Abram, the last statement in verse 8 really hit home. “…And you have done what you promised, for you are always true to your word.”

    I desire to live my life behind Jesus, slowing down and letting the Spirit lead, and feeling confident that He will lead me right even when this world throws me that curve ball. I read in john today something I never say or noticed. After Jesus gets done clearing the temple, He says in verse 16 “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace.” Verse 17 is the one that stands out, “Then the disciples remembered this prophecy from Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”

    When what God did (sending His one and only Son CONSUMES us and we are PASSIONATE about it, the curve balls don’t matter we keep moving forward with our eyes on Him.

    Trent you preached a sermon once where you shared a story of a mouse and a maze, where the gate keeps coming down and hitting the head of the mouse and that would make him choose a different way. You stressed that we need to be able to take that hit and not step back but move forward and stay focused. Thank you for sharing and being opened to disciple. peace

  • Reply Stacia Robin |

    Trent

    Thank you for this blog post. The last two and a half years have been in the world’s eyes horrific, but I have to say that I have never felt more at peace and safe in my life. God has brought me through all of this for a reason He has yet to reveal but I know that in the end it will all be clear. My trials are not over by a long shot but I know God has a reason. I have a plaque by my bed that says, “Thank God for what you have, Trust God for what you need”. Trusting God doesn’t make it less painful, but it helps us to keep going even when the world says to give up.

  • Reply Mike Van Eck |

    “Come on Kid, stand strong in the box and bear down.’ ” Keep you eye on the ball and watch it leaving the bat.” These were all things that were said to me when I played ball. I believe if you keep your eyes on GOD, you’ll hit that curve ball. Maybe a swing and a miss at first, then maybe a foul ball but if you keep standing in there strong and keep your eyes on the ball, sooner or later you’ll hit a GRAND SLAM.

    I have had my share of curve balls in my life and I still haven’t hit the Grand Slam. I know that with GOD all things are possible, so I know that I’ll not only hit that Grand Slam someday. When I do get that hit, it will in biggest game I ever played in, in front of all the greats of the bible. Trent remember when you preached about them cheering from the heavens about what we are doing here on earth to further the will of GOD. That’s what I invision it will be like when I hit that curve ball.

    “So stay in the KID, keep your focus and swing with all your might”

  • Reply Tracy Washington |

    Trent,
    Thank you for sharing such genuine wisdom in “lamens” terms. I absolutely love how when you speak “it all makes sense ” Each time I read your blogs or previously listened to your sermons at Parkway (CCV) I always got the “ah ha” effect. I honestly appreciate your thoughts and look forward to gaining more knowledge as I travel this amazing journey called Life. Again Thank you…

  • Reply Arnold |

    Cliche but:

    Don’t tell God how big your curve balls are, tell the curve balls how big your God is. – and read some John Wimber. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply J.Cronk |

    Trent,

    I feel for you. I have had a rough couple of years myself and you are so right, it stinks to be comforted with stuff we should already have imprinted on our heart. But at least for me, God told me that I needed to stop trying to make the hit, go back and ice the ca-jewels and let him hit. I know it sometimes feels as though we are constantly swinging and missing but if we really ask ourselves, should we have swung at that one anyway?

    Also from a different perspective, What if we are the ball in this picture with God throwing and the batter is Satan. Doesn’t seem so bad from that point of view now does it.

    Praying for you and know you have support. God bless

    Jeff

  • Reply lena |

    Trent and Kelli,

    Love you and your thoughts. Thanks for sharing from the heart-being real. I get this, it is real, and it’s part of life.

    Prayers for your family as you continue your adventure following God and going all in…..

  • Reply T |

    Trent,

    I was an atheist. In the first year after becoming a Christian, I thought I was following God with every choice I made and every minute given. I thought His plan was laid out with clarity so I was ALL IN like never before. The walls came down and I opened myself up to Him, leaving me vulnerable to him. The problem is that even Christian men, can take advantage of that. What I thought was God’s plan, was just a man with an ego problem supported by another man on a power trip. Am I judging? Probably. Okay – Yes! I am human. In the second year after being baptized, I was hit with high-speed curve balls week after week until I could barely get up again. But I did. I sometimes wondered who was winning – Satan or God. I sat silently and learned some hard lessons.

    No, I’m not a man and I’ve never been hit “there,” but getting hit hard with a curve ball hurts regardless of where it makes contact and women can hurt so deep in their gut it makes them want to curl up in a corner to heave and cry – even though they don’t have those parts.

    Can we all wear cups in this game called life? Please?

    Each one of us comes to the plate with our own set of skills, demons, history of failure, and doubt. But at the plate, we can each square up, clear our heads of chatter, watch the ball – keep our eyes on God, and swing, hoping to connect and get around the bases. And if we strike out or get hit, all we can do is hope for extra innings and a chance to do it again so we won’t make the same mistakes.

    Play Ball! Because Trent, when you hit a home run, you really hit a home run, and your game is NOT over!!

    At your last sermon, I approached you to explain something you taught me, but I stopped not wanting to bother you – and because some of my walls are up again. I wish I had spoken to you that day.

    • Reply Trent Renner |

      Hey T…
      Thanks a ton for sharing your thoughts. I can tell you have felt “the pain” too. Its all crazy! I’d love for you to share what you were going to after my last sermon. The last one I preached was the one where I showed a bunch of pictures and talked about forgiveness. Is that the message you refer to? Send me an email about it. trentrenner@me.com

      Keep growing. Never stop swinging! There are a few home runs left in every one of us!
      TR

    • Reply Trent |

      I’m not currently preaching at another Church. I am looking and interviewing and asking God about where He would have me be a Lead Pastor again. Stay tuned. I am sorry to say it most likely will not be in the state of Arizona.

      • Reply Suzanne Carson |

        Rhonda thanks for asking the question. I was curious also about where Trent was preaching. My daughter, grandson and I so miss Parkway. Being deaf my daughter has an extremely hard time connecting to church and we were so very thrilled when that connection happened.
        Trent – God has such wonderful plans in store for you and your family. Hang on tight – cuz it will happen quickly. He never said it would be easy, He said it would be worth it! Been in similiar situation as you and God restored like He did with Job. Will I experience the valley again? Probably – but I never pitch my tent there!

  • Reply Catherine Crampton |

    Trent,

    Thank you for writing this, I am sure it wasn’t easy for you. You and your family will be in my prayers. I too, would like to know if you will be preaching somewhere else. My husband and I always enjoyed your sermons . Please keep us posted!

    Catherine

  • Reply Bryan Carter |

    Trent … I wrote this yesterday … I sensed I shouldn’t hit “send” … I didn’t know then I’d be sending it to you until now … first time I’ve seen your site … blessings on you and yours … BC

    As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all My delight. [Ps16:4]

    What a great way to address and intro a devotional note. What a great description of you.

    The fourth day of Psalms contains my favorite verse. It is found in Ps16:8. I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

    Being unemployed for a season, underemployed for another, losing a good friend, an extended hospital stay, recovery, extended family challenges, “called” or not. That “not be shaken” phrase has taken on a little more meaning than before. I guess I need the “look in the mirror” time and the “say the words” time and the asking myself “Do you believe it?” time.

    I do believe it. It is helpful to have a solid statement of bold assurance to say to others and yourself in tough times. What’s that saying? “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” I believe that statement is true.

    • Reply Trent Renner |

      Hey Bryan…thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hope you are well. Crazy times. I love that phrase…”Touch times never last, but tough people do.” I am deeply curious as to what God has in mind with my future, your future, etc. We can’t connect the dots looking forward…only in hindsight.

      Trent

  • Reply kay clark |

    Trent,
    For some reason (hummm,,,) I decided to read your blog site today…wow. All I can say is, get ready, cause when God gets you where he wants you, you are going to get a BIG assignment.
    When I left Parkway it was some of the darkest most hurting days and nights of my adult life. I felt like I had been hit with a curve ball that I did not see coming! Yes, I fell asleep night after night with my bible, hoping that God would comfort me and somehow, his Word would keep the evil one from entrenching anger and hurt inside me. I read Jeff Manion’s book “The Land Between” during that time. It helped me see that even though I had no idea what was next for me, if I could humble myself and prepare my heart maybe God would give me something good to do. Wow~! did He ever~! You know the rest, we were headed to DC to do ministry this past fall. Screach on the brakes in Kansas~!!! God put up a wall here and we have spent the last several months actually doing some very significant ministry RIGHT IN OUR OWN FAMILY. Something we did not see coming, nor could we have anticipated it at all. This is so NOT what we thought was coming! So, here we are, loving and serving the Lord in Topeka, KS for crying out loud~! And yes, it is really cold here. Oh well,,, So be strong, my friend. Do your homework (I know you are..) and consider this time as a rest period in preparation for your next assignment. Fred and I love you and pray for you and Kelli a LOT.
    Kay

  • Reply Roxanne |

    I had a shocking discovery today that put me right smack into the most traumatic event that I have ever witnessed. I’ve been treated for PTSD and actually thought I was almost recovered. But, instead of breaking down, or blaming others, or even just falling so completely apart I thought first. It’s Halloween, 2017, satan is going to try and get to me today. My sister and I purposefully carved a Christian cross into our pumpkin. I thought, there has to be someone out there who has been through really the most awful times too. This blog was the first one to show up in my search. I was praying as I typed into Google. I didn’t click “I feel lucky” because I didn’t. But, you know what? It turns out, that I was! I may feel alone, but I’m not alone! Thank you for sharing your story and I pray you and your wife have received many blessings since. See, I didn’t swing at my curve ball today. I didn’t click I feel lucky, but right now, I just heard and angel say, “Ball 1”. I’m giggling, but, I’m giggling inside. If I laugh at the devil the next pitch may be high, low, or even off speed. It doesn’t matter, because I’m watching to see who’s on the mound. If I see something that has a tail on his back as he winds up for the pitch, I’m not swinging. I’m looking for the wings. Then, I’ll know God is sending me the perfect pitch for my game winning home run.

    Just a female who loves baseball, life, and God! Not necessarily in that order! Thank you for helping me calm down and think this through, logically.

    Roxanne

    • Reply Trent |

      Roxanne, Thank you for your kind words and for sharing part of your story too. I’m grateful you took the time to respond. I’m astonished at how God will pull up stories from my past, or blogs like this one that can be an inspiration to others. Keep swinging!! πŸ™‚

So, what do you think ?