A spiritually healthy Calvinist embraces the truth of God’s Sovereign control of all things and yet still upholds the need for human responsibility. Different people, usually related to personality more than personal theology, will land on one side of the equation. Since I’m uber-pragmatic, I will always err on the side of being too responsible, and am constantly needing reminders of the truth that God is indeed in control.
Last night, via SportsCenter, I witnessed not only these truths, but the healthy application of these complementary (not opposing) truths.
Armando Gallaraga of the Detroit Tigers was pitching a perfect game (all outs and no base-runners) through 8 and 2/3 innings. He only one out to go. Then the batter hit it to the first baseman, and he tossed the ball to the pitcher who came over to cover the bag. The throw beat the runner, but the umpire called him safe. But the replays clearly showed him to be out and he was out by a good bit.
Armando was reminded that no matter how responsible he and the position players were, there was still another factor at play of which they had no control over: umpires. Until baseball gets instant replay, which will be never, players will always have to be aware that God’s Sovereignty (in the form of human umpire error) will still be part of the game.
Gallaraga was amazingly gracious to the umpire, capitulating to the element of human error in baseball. After the call, the distraught pitcher didn’t display defeat or disgust, but simply disbelief. He had come so far and was clearly frustrated. But unlike the 1st baseman or the manager, he didn’t get in the umpire’s face and yell. Disappointed, but also clearly pleased that he had simply been responsible in pitching to the best of his ability.
In the end, he may even have realized that his “responsible” pitching performance was itself a gift from a Sovereign God. Check this out from espn.com:
Galarraga struck out three and walked none, and was a most unlikely star. He was recalled from Triple-A Toledo on May 16 after pitching poorly during spring training, losing out in a competition for the final spot in the rotation to Dontrelle Willis, who was traded Tuesday, and Nate Robertson, who was dealt to Florida toward before the team broke camp.
He probably won’t get a shot for a perfect game again. But in the end, I think he gives us a good example of what it means to be responsible and yet rest in God’s Sovereignty.