DayBreaks for 08/20/19: Perfect Perfection
From the DayBreaks archive, August 2009:
Perfection, in particular human perfection, is one of the rarest things on earth – if it exists at all. The sports world shows how rare and short lived that perfection is. For example, during the week of July 20, 2009, Chicago White Sox ace Mark Buerhle, pitched a no-hitter, but not just a no-hitter – he’d thrown a perfect game! And that win moved the White Sox moved into a tie for first place.
In case you don’t know the distinction, there’s a big difference between a no-hitter and a perfect game. In a no-hitter, it means no batter gets a hit against you, but you can walk batters, hit batters with a pitch, and your team can make errors on the field, and it still counts as a no-hitter. In fact, you can even lose a no-hitter through some of those means. Still it’s hard to pitch a no-hitter: out of 2,430 regular season Major League baseball games played every year only a few no-hitters are pitched. As of July 2009, there have been a total of only 281 no-hitters thrown in the history of baseball. Most pitchers will never throw a no-hitter in their entire career. The greatest pitchers in baseball may pitch two or three no-hitters in their career, with a few having thrown 4.
A perfect game is a much more difficult. The pitcher not only must prevent all 27 hitters from getting a hit, he also cannot allow a single walk, he can’t hit any batters, and his team must not commit any errors! Despite the thousands of Major League baseball games played every year and the tens of thousands of games that have been played over the history of baseball since the major leagues began in 1871, Mark Buerhle’s perfect game was only the 18th ever pitched.
But Buerhle didn’t stop there. In his next start, he was again perfect for the first five and two thirds innings, setting the record for consecutive batters retired over a several-game stretch—45 batters up and down—but then, as it inevitably had to, human limitation took hold. In the sixth inning, with two outs, Buerhle walked a batter. Some hits followed. He got out of that inning, but in the seventh he gave up more hits and was pulled from the game. He had given up five runs on five hits, and the White Sox lost the game 5 to 3. For the six games after his perfect game, the White Sox lost five of six games and fell several games behind the Tigers.
Among human beings, if perfection is possible, it is only temporary. Most of us may not achieve perfection at all in any sense in our human endeavors. Have you ever loved perfectly? Drew the perfect picture? Developed and executed perfectly the perfect plan? Parented perfectly? Been a perfect child, sibling or friend? Me neither. Perfection just isn’t a human trait. In fact, one could argue that a perfect game isn’t really perfect unless the pitcher never throws any balls out of the strike zone, etc. But we like to pretend that we do things perfectly once in a while. Perhaps it makes us feel better. Or perhaps it is a deadly delusion.
Is perfection possible? Yes, it is. And if you are a Christian, believe it or not, you’ve been made perfect, not only for a temporary period of time, but eternally: Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:13-14)
You have been made perfect if you are in Christ. Forever.
Now, go and celebrate THAT!
PRAYER: Lord, it is hard to grasp and to feel that we are in any way, shape or form, perfect. Sin besets us so frequently and causes us to despair. We praise Your Name for the sacrifice that has made us already perfect in Your most holy eyes! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>