I grew up a sports fanatic. Baseball was my first love and I was pretty sure from a very small age that I would be a professional baseball player. I dominated in little league, pretty good in high school and then came the scholarship to play for a school known for a great Division 1 Baseball Team. I was on my way to the major leagues.
Not knowing God at this stage of my life, I believed I achieved everything on my own and my competitive nature would wear others down. I saw myself as a very gifted athlete. Oh the humility that God brought to me without even realizing it. First, me an all-league player was now stepping on the field with mostly all-state and all-americans. They all hit the ball farther than I did, they were stronger and much faster. That confident big-headed soon to be major league player was now lacking confidence and riding the bench. My first college class, HUMILITY 101.
Injuries took it’s toll on me and my interest to play with the realization that I would not play in the big leagues lead me to coaching. So where am I going with my scripture reflection today? First, I want to give thanks to God for the gift of sports. It is an awesome gift for those who play, coach and watch. I spent the day with my family, playing a little baseball with my grandchildren and then watching the Women’s World Cup Soccer. God is so good!
St. Paul today in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 says some very interesting things I can relate to in my journey in sports and life. First he says,
“I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.”
I boast that God has always been in control of my life and he let me learn the hard way granting me His grace of humility especially through sports. He has also humbled me greatly in my sinfulness which is another blog for another day. Second he says,
“Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I believe that I am now much stronger in Christ living in me and weak in the eyes of the world. I have experienced insults in sports and because of my faith in Jesus. I have been persecuted like so many who believe in the teachings of the church. I have constraints that I would not have if I believed what the world says and not what Christ has revealed to me.
Being weak in the world does not mean to me that I lie down and let others walk over me. As a player and a coach, I believed I would win every time and I believed my teams would win. I hated giving up regardless of the score and for the most part, my teams played hard to the finish. I was not a great coach most of my years. I yelled, cussed and screamed at players mostly because I was weak at making proper adjustments and coaching proper fundamentals. I learned and became better at the end of my coaching years. Today, I am very content looking back and sharing my weaknesses for when I am weak, I am strong.
Great job USA Women, 5-2 victory over Japan! Thank you Lord for the gift of sports!