“Are you supposed to be here or are you on the cut list?”
Racine softball Coach Charlie Collins barks out the question to left fielder Shirley Baker in the 1992 movie, A League of Their Own. It’s the critical moment after tryouts when 64 women will have made four teams in the first all-female baseball league.
“Look, I’m sorry, but if you’re cut, you have to leave the field,” the coach says.
Shirley nods her head and helplessly scans the list. First baseman Helen Haley has an idea of what might be going on.
“Hi,” she says softly. “Can you read?”
I bawl every time I watch that scene. The coach was asking the wrong question.
Does that land with anyone? It sure does with me. I remember as a young mom impatiently asking my toddler, “Don’t you know it’s nap time?” He knew it. Oh boy, my exasperation left little doubt about it. I marched him up the stairs and deposited him onto his bed, kissing his forehead with a distracted if not terse “Stay in bed” order.
As I walked downstairs, the sweet whisper through the baby monitor stopped me in my tracks. I heard my son ask, “Georgie, where are you?”
Oh, nice one, Laurie. Just really great. My son’s frantic dive through toys in his toy box hadn’t been a delay tactic and he wasn’t being mischievous. He was looking for his well-worn Curious George stuffed animal. He couldn’t sleep without it.
I tiptoed back upstairs and peeked my head into his room. “Honey, can I help you find George?” He ran to me as fast as his tears fell. I bawl every time I remember that scene. I was asking the wrong question.
I’m so glad I worship a King who asks the right questions. It’s true, they’re not always easy. Someone asked me last week: “Why is Jesus so nosy?” I laughed, and it made me think.
His questions start relationships (Will you give me a drink?), make people wrestle (What do you think?), and force us to look at the darkness within. (Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?)
Sometimes He breaks up our pity party. (Do you want to get well?) He imparts wisdom that helps us navigate this life. (Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?) And He jolts us out of coping reflexes that don’t help us grow (Why are you so afraid?)
He always, always asks the right questions. In fact, you can bet if Jesus is asking you a question, it’s the right one. He’s not like impatient coaches or moms or people.
In the end, Shirley Baker’s name was on that board. “You’re with us! You’re a Rockford Peach,” her newfound friend Helen exclaimed. She made the cut. She belonged. She went from illiterate reject to starting left fielder because someone asked her the right question.
Is Jesus asking you a question today?
What’s your answer?
Will you sit with Him for awhile? Will you look hard at yourself? Do you want to be well? Will you choose fear and worry or will you live free? Is He asking you to go. Is He asking you to stay? What do you think?
Well? What do you think? Because you can bet if Jesus is asking you a question, it’s the right one.
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