Throwing in the Kneepads

“Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

It had been a long trip. Ten days in Switzerland with eight volleyball matches down and one to go.

After playing eleven years of competitive sports, for the first time ever I was “riding the pine.” Not only did I sit the bench, I was the only player who had not played the entire trip. My confidence level was at an all-time low. I was ready to throw in the kneepads, put volleyball behind me, and forget my Olympic dreams.

The night before our final match was a night I’ll never forget. I sat out on the terrace of our hotel overlooking Lake Geneva and surrounded by the Swiss Alps. In the midst of God’s amazing creation I felt His presence. I opened my Bible and cried out to Him through all of my hurt and frustration. He spoke to me strongly through His Word: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

I began to realize that I was in the same race as my teammates. We were all running together. We all wanted to play. We all wanted to win. However, which of us played was up to the coach. Was I about to quit over one disappointing tournament? No! Through God’s inspiring Word, my attitude did a 180-degree turn that night in Switzerland. I began to accept my role, and I continued to press on.

It’s amazing how similar our spiritual journey is to the ups and downs in athletics. In sports and in life, when we face hardship and trials, it is tempting to quit. We must be encouraged to change our attitude. We must trust that God will strengthen us as we continue to run for our eternal prize. We must not quit.

From the playbook: 1 Corinthians 9:19-27