In his book, Putting Faith to Work, Robert McCracken shared a story concerning Leo Durocher. "Everyone who follows baseball knows Durocher, how once he was brash, arrogant, loud, impetuous, impatient, and a merciless slave driver. His philosophy of life was immortalized in his saying 'Nice guys finish last.'"
He never dreamed that one day he would be a "nice guy" and finish first, and when that day arrived he had matured enough to give the team credit. He explained that all he did was to wave them home from third base."
But a benchmark in the life of Durocher concerned the fabulous center fielder, Willie Mays, of the Giants. "After joining the club as a rookie, there was a period when he made only one hit in twenty-six times at bat. The old Durocher would have banished him, benched him, or sent him back to the minors, but he did none of these. One day, the twenty-year-old Mays came to his manager, weeping, and begged to be benched. The new Durocher draped a fatherly arm around the strong young man's shoulders and said, "Don't worry, Son, you are my center fielder, even if you don't get another hit all season."
Willie strode from Leo's office with buoyant step and promptly began hitting the ball, and kept hitting the ball to the tune of 660 career home runs, third all-time in baseball history. Mays became one of baseball's immortals, because at a strategic moment in Willie's life, Durocher had the tact and understanding to do the right thing at the right time."
Our God had the tact and understanding to know that we can't make it through life on our own. Knowing this, He gently puts His loving arms around us, encouraging us through His Word and through the gift of His Son. The apostle Paul says it best: "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly...God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6, 8 NIV).