I love baseball and everything about it. However, still to this day, curve balls baffle me, both on and off the baseball diamond.  Last week, I saw a few curve balls. A church member received news on a health condition that was not favorable. A family member called to tell me the news. It blind-sided me, as I thought for sure this person was going to get better. I was confident and never thought of any other prognosis but a positive one.  Not feeling happy was an understatement. I prayed, “God, this was not suppose to happen this way.”

Forget what I want or think!  God is the “pitcher”. I know that this person loves Jesus Christ, the Armenian Church, has an undeniable profound faith in his Creator, and is not afraid to die. This person inspires me and has taught me something about faith.

A few hours following that news, I received another difficult phone call from a parishioner — someone with lung cancer. I went to the hospital to visit and pray with this person. I was already challenged from the previous situation. At the hospital we talked and then prayed.  While singing the Lord’s prayer, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Both the patient and I were deep in prayer. After the final blessing, I said, “It was great to see you and pray with you.”  The person thanked me and said, “I am glad you visited, I was starting to lose hope.”

I left the hospital connecting the dots between both pastoral situations and realized that both parishioners had Hope inside of them. On the other hand, on that day in particular, I was lacking hope.  It was the curve ball!  I wasn’t ready for it. I took my eye off it. It was a game changer.  However, in the end, it was the curve ball that drew me closer to God. I then thanked God for the Hope He has given me (and you). I also thank Jesus Christ for giving me Hope in His Crucifixion, resurrection and salvation.

As you face difficult times this Lenten period, or at anytime, remember the Hope that is always present for us in Jesus Christ. It may look like a curve ball, but keep your eye on it, be prepared for it and you will not lose what God has given us – Hope!

God bless you!
Fr. Stepanos