A Season Deferred
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." - Philippians 1:6
As a coach or athlete who spent their entire career preparing for this year, the canceling or suspending of the 2020 athletic season can be a dark time. Coaches concluding their career or chasing the elusive championship, senior athletes hopeful to be in front of scouts or simply finishing well in the sport or on the team they love.
But unprecedented moments like these can squeeze our faith. We are confronted with a wide range of feelings and emotions. As Christian coaches and athletes what are we to do?
Wrestle With God
The Psalms are filled with those who cry out to God in desperation, frustration, doubt and anger (Psalm 13:1-6, Psalm 35:17-18, Psalm 42:9-11). Our God is big enough to take it. He can handle it. So talk to Him. Then notice in each of these passages that the writer concludes by praising God. As we reflect on who God is, all that He has done for us up to this season, our talents and skills, His never-ending grace and love…may we find comfort in this heavenly perspective.
Evaluate Our Identity
When I was a NCAA Division II distance runner I was faced with a season-ending knee injury. Prior to the start of that season, I had spent the entire summer training harder than I ever had before. It paid off - I entered that year in the best shape of my life. In a few short weeks however, I was done. That season-ending injury would turn out to be the end my college career as I was never able to compete at the same level.
What the Lord showed me during that time is that I was more than my sport. I was more than that spot on the roster, the scholarship, the gear, the reputation and the stats. My athletic career was what I did, it wasn’t who I was. And as I heard from Him about my identify in Jesus, the range of emotions and feelings quieted, and I became confident in who I was and where I was going – even though I couldn’t yet see the destination.
Find True Hope
With our seasons in limbo and our athletic futures uncertain, as difficult as it is…eventually…we need to turn our hope to the “author and perfector” of our faith, Jesus Christ. He has provided in a variety of ways for you up to today. Don’t forget how you got here and what He’s done. Then grow in confidence that what He’s done, He will continue to do (Phil 1:6). You may not see it now. You may not be able to imagine it yet. But the God who saved you is the same God who will provide for you now and until you see Him face to face.
Looking back, with my own collegiate career over, the journey the Lord had for me was one I couldn’t have written. And I’m glad I didn’t. I was able to become a chaplain to my teammates and go on to minister to other athletes from a variety of sports. I was given the privilege of serving coaches and athletes through my various roles at FCA. And over the last 15 years the blessings from the Lord are too many to name. May you find true hope in this season deferred. He’s got you. He’s got this. He always has and He always will.
- What are some of the emotions or feelings you have because of the recent events?
- How does the belief that your sports is something you do, not something you are impact your belief in God?
- Reflect on all the ways God has blessed you and provided for you up to today then write/type them.
- Ask the Lord to give you His perspective in this time of fear, frustration and uncertainty.
Psalm 13:1-6; Psalm 35:17-18; Psalm 42:9-11