Vin Scully is a legendary baseball broadcaster, the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1950 to 2016. Now ninety-two years old, he joined Fox News on Monday to discuss the delayed start to this year’s Major League Baseball season.
Scully, a devout Christian, said, “Now that I have some leisure time and we’re all locked in at home, I read an article and it was talking about what happened to Americans in World War II. It was such a terrible time.”
He added, “Three-quarters of Americans belonged to a house of worship. Today . . . half of Americans are involved in a house of worship, prior to this pandemic. So there’s your answer . . . Although they might not be able to go to a house of worship, probably more Americans will be praying since World War II.”
“More people will be coming back to the faith,” Scully went on. “And now that this terrible thing is upon us, people might very well get back to the center. And it’s a better world. We’ll see . . .”
“With the humble is wisdom”
I referenced the same Wall Street Journal column in yesterday morning’s Daily Article. Scully is right: the anxiety of this crisis may well be a catalyst for the spiritual renewal we need so urgently.
As the saying goes, sometimes we need to get so far down that we have nowhere to look but up. Such humility is the foundational step to the spiritual awakening we need so urgently today.
As we noted yesterday, God’s promise to his people that he would “heal their land” is tied directly to their response to his call: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turned from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
First, they must “humble” themselves. The Hebrew word means “to bow the knee” or “to submit with humility.”
Scripture consistently calls us to such submission: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2); “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10); “Be completely humble and gentle” (Ephesians 4:2 NIV).
The surprising first step to humility
God requires humility as a necessary precursor to spiritual awakening because he cannot give what we will not admit we need to receive. He cannot lead us if we will not admit we need his leadership.
This is a problem for all of us. If you think today’s discussion is less than relevant for you, know that you’re being deceived.
C. S. Lewis was right: “If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.”
If our nation admitted our desperate need for God, we would pray to him, seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways. You and I cannot make such a commitment for our nation, but we can make it for ourselves.
And we can pray for others to see our humble reliance on our Lord and seek to make our faith their own.
“We who were atheists until yesterday, now pray to God for peace”
Lulian Urban Lorenzo is a thirty-eight-year-old doctor in Italy, where coronavirus is especially virulent. He has released this statement, which was translated into English: “Until two weeks ago, we and many of my colleagues were atheists. One hundred percent believed that science excludes God because we are doctors.
“I used to look at my parents at church and mock them. A seventy-five-year-old clergyman arrived here nine days ago. A poor man. He was struggling to breathe. But he always had a Bible in his hand. He reads it to the patients who are dying and reads them quickly. He places the Bible in the hands of some and we looked at it intently.”
Dr. Lorenzo and his colleagues came to see that “as human beings, we have reached our limits. There is nothing we can do except increase the death toll of the people we care about.” Then, he says, “We began to notice his work. We began to feel that God begins where man ends. Slowly we approached the priest.”
As a result of his influence on them, “We who were atheists until yesterday, now pray to God for peace. Pray for us to help care for the sick. The courage that was supposed to be lost has somehow returned. We are more energetic now.
“Yesterday, that seventy-five-year-old priest died. That means 120 deaths in three weeks. He helped to give us the peace we never expected in just nine days, when all hope was shattered. Remembering that we were helped by his weakness . . . the good shepherd went to the Lord.”
Dr. Lorenzo closes: “Now I realize I am nothing on this earth. But I will live like that priest until my last breath for others.”
What do you need to do today to join him?