A Greater Hope - Mark Appel

It’s always good to have something to shoot for—to know where you are going. As a pitcher for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, whose parent team is the Philadelphia Phillies, I am one step away from the Big Leagues. The goal of making it to the Big Leagues is something that is, and has always been, in the back of my mind but at the same time, I know I can’t live in the future.

 

When I’m pitching well, I shouldn’t be upset that I haven’t been called up yet. When I am pitching poorly, I shouldn’t think that I’m suddenly that much farther away from my dream of making it to the Big League. While these thoughts do go through my mind at times, I know that this journey is a process. One of the themes of my year has been patience. I know that God uses all circumstances to teach us more about His character and I see this season in my life teaching me to trust in His timing and will for my life.

 

As I work towards my ultimate goal of being called up to the major leagues, I am constantly learning and growing in my skills. I’ve been working on many things both in the bullpen and in games and these new developments get me really excited because I know they’re making me a better player. But there are also times when I struggle, when I feel like I’m not performing at my best—from the time I take the mound to the time I step off the field, it just doesn’t all come together. This week has been one of those weeks for me. It’s frustrating because I’m a competitor; I want to win. And sometimes I don’t see the results that I want to see. But during my quiet time this week, God brought these verses to my mind:

 

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” —Romans 5:1-5

 

As I was reminded of these truths, God’s Spirit encouraged me. He offers a greater hope in which I can stand. He wants us to always keep moving forward and keep sight of the end goal. While my temporary goal is to make it to the Big Leagues, my eternal goal is to honor and follow God.

 

The best thing to do when I find myself in these slumps is to go back to the hope I have in Christ. When I speak the truth of God’s Word into my own life, I see the power and effectiveness that comes from Him. This truth is more powerful than any circumstance in life; this truth can overcome any negativity or frustration in life. We have a greater purpose—a greater hope—in the life we live with Christ.

 

—Mark Appel

 

Mark Appel is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.

 

View Mark’s Increase Profile here: https://theincreasebaseball.com/author/markappel/

 

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