Batting .500 on Valentine’s Day

An Exhortation to the Singles of Ninth & O Baptist Church, Louisville, KY

If batting .500 stands out as a momentous achievement in baseball, the same percentage is a near impossibility in love. The reason for this that we all get too many “at-bats” to even think about getting a successful hit fifty percent of the time. What do I mean by this? The only success stories in romantic relationships are those that end in the ultimate commitment: marriage. And since the normal course of events only allows a person one happy ending (i.e. marriage), all of the other “at bats” end up as “no hitters.”

Of all the verities of the Christian life, this one rings so true. Every romantic relationship ultimately ends in failure until you get married. That means that if you have six serious relationships before you meet the one that you’ll marry, you end up with a 1 and 6 record—that is, 1 marriage and 6 break-ups. If you have 10 relationships before meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right, then you finish 1 and 10. Only a very few actually hit the fifty percent mark at 1 and 1, and even fewer make the one hundred percent mark at 1 and 0. Personally, my record was pretty abysmal. The final tally is 1 and some number in scientific notation.

I know that this sounds like a real “the glass is half empty” kind of an analysis of relationships. But sadly, it is true. We all can identify with Solomon’s adage, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). We’re all unlucky in love until we meet the one. But how should we deal with this half-empty glass? How can we push the level up to full, or even perhaps to overflowing?

The key is to minimize the number of “at bats.” This doesn’t mean that Christians should never take risks or should never trust anyone with their heart. But it does mean that we need to be careful about who we give our hearts out to. This truth is the wisdom of Solomon in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” In other words, we can minimize the number of pre-marriage heartbreaks if we’ll just be careful not to let our hearts get tangled up in relationships that wisdom would forbid. For instance, we should never let our hearts get bound together with an unbeliever, someone who has no demonstrable interest in the things of God (2 Corinthians 6:14). Also, we can listen to the warnings of wisdom that help us to tell the difference between Mr./Mrs. Right and Mr./Mrs. Wrong (e.g. Proverbs 6:24; 20:19; 22:24; 25:24).

In the end, we should recognize God’s Providential leadership over people’s hearts (Proverbs 21:1) and be content with what He gives us in His own time. After all, this is the only real way to bat a thousand.