"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
-Matthew 11:30 (NIV)
It was the final game for the eighth grade I.H.M.-St. Casimir Eagles boys basketball team, one in which they could capture the league championship of the City-Wide Catholic Youth League. For the previous three seasons, this talented group of young men and their devoted coach had achieved success but had always narrowly lost in the final games of the tournament. But this year, in their final game together, their hopes were high. It seemed to be their year, and everything seemed to be lining up for the perfect ending to their basketball career.
They won their semi-final game against their biggest rival and earned a spot in the final game of the tournament. Though it wasn’t their best game, the Eagles managed to remain in the lead almost the entire game; all up until the last minute and half. That was when everything seemed to go against them. And, sadly, the Eagles lost their final game together in overtime.
As parents, we've all been there. We know those long drives home in a quiet car after a hard loss. This one was the hardest one yet. How do we as parents help our kids through these tough losses and vanished dreams? One word came to me as we drove home that night: surrender. We must surrender our dreams to the One who is writing the story of our lives; the One who knows the beginning and the end.
Jesus is the only One who can take away the pain of life's disappointments, but so often we mull over in our heads the "what if's" and "if only’s," going back over missed free throws and bad calls, creating a storm in our heads of grief and disappointment. When we do this, we are still clinging to the dreams and not letting Jesus have them. I've learned through all those long trips home in the car with my sons, that in these times of disappointment and hurt we parents have the greatest opportunity to share with our children the hope and peace we can have in Christ. His yolk is easy and His burden light, but, first, we must nail our dreams to the cross and give them to Him. Through this faith and trust in God’s plan, the storms of disappointment in our heads are calmed and joy resurfaces.
Basketball season is over for us, but we know that these moments to share God’s hope will surface again. Let's not miss the opportunity to turn our children’s eyes toward Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. His plan is so much greater than we could ever imagine!
1. Have you ever experienced a hard loss or the loss of an athletic dream?
2. Do you sometimes feed the storm within yourself by still thinking of the "what if’s" and "if only’s"?
3. Have you surrendered this disappointment to the Lord, trusting that His plan for you is so much greater than you could ever imagine?