This off-season has been undoubtedly the best I have ever had. I have gotten stronger, faster, and more mentally equipped than ever before. However, this does not mean I am a shoe-in for any team in our organization. There are others just like me each year—thinking they have what it takes to make it the big leagues only to be cut by the end of spring training. I can do everything right and still not make a team. Where is my hope? In this game, as in the game of life, it is of the utmost importance to know where hope lies for my life.
Last year presented many struggles, but these struggles have left me stronger than I was and ready for any trial that lies ahead. Every struggle is an opportunity for growth. It does no good to stand in struggle and flail around in it; the important thing is to get up when life knocks us down and make each step deliberately toward where we want to go. Baseball is a game of failure; it is so important to have a quick memory—“Remember the good, forget the bad.” Dwelling on the bad only sinks our feet into the quicksand of insecurity and anxiety. How can we lift our feet out of the quicksand if we are fixated in our problems?
The answer is Scripture. Scripture is God’s revelation to each of His followers. God is literally speaking through His Word each time it is read.
“For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12
If we want to get out of our troubles—if we want to live in the power of the Spirit—it is important that we allow the Word to cut into our hearts and change us.
If I learned anything from failing this season, it is that I must know where my hope is if I am going to survive in life. My hope lies with the One who created all things and knows all things. Why would I look to other things to try and find solutions to my problems, to my anxieties, or to my stress? When the future seems unclear, go to the One who wrote the future.
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed Heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe.” -Hebrews 1:1-2
I was so blind trying to do it all on my own, trying to find my own solutions. All the answers lie in surrendering to God. Even King Solomon, the wisest, richest, most powerful man on the earth at one time, realized this.
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” -Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
As spring training 2016 draws near I am praying and asking for a heart that is focused on encouraging and loving others. A team will function at its highest capacity when each member is gunning for other members’ success. That’s what I am hoping happens this year. I want to let my talent play, but focus on developing others’ skill level as much as mine.
I think Jesus really meant it when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That includes them having success if it means I won’t move up. If I am supposed to move up, it will happen. It makes no sense for me to worry about it and become anxious. That leads me to look like I don’t trust God with my future—the opposite of what I am trying to exemplify to the world. This season, as well as in each season to follow, I will try my best to make a team and encourage others around me. The difference between me and the next guy will not be talent; if I don’t get moved up, it’s not because the effort wasn’t there—I will never be outworked. The difference will be that I know where my eternal security lies; I know my future is held in Christ and His sacrifice for us, and that is enough. It is enough to cure my anxieties, the pressures put on me, and the uncertainty of where I am going next.
Life is too short to be preoccupied with the pleasures and anxieties of this life. James 4:14 says, “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” It is important to stand firm on the knowledge of Scripture and understand the promises of God. Isn’t eternity more important than the current time-bound life we live now? It’s time to stand firm in the faith, love others, and share the Good News of Jesus with them through our actions and words.
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