By Sheryl Borgman
Recently, I was asked to join the coaching staff of the FCS girls’ basketball team. The team hadn’t won a game until recently. Obviously, when the team first started practicing last fall, the girls and coaches thought their season would have gone differently. However, when reality didn’t reach their expectations, it was easy for them to get discouraged or defeated.
One of my roles with the team and also in my classroom has been to encourage our young people to trust the Lord even when their circumstances don’t align with the outcome. Two verses that I continually bring before the students are Ecclesiastes 9:10a “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might;” and James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.”
It is easy to continue a task well when we win, get good grades, or achieve success. However, when we finish well even through hardship, we develop endurance while God is glorified.
James tells us to consider it joy when we face trials because God uses that trial to make us stronger. When I was in my early twenties, I traveled all over the United States with a basketball team called The All-American Redheads. We played almost every night for 7 ½ months out of the year. Before making the team, I had to train daily to build up my physical endurance to withstand this rigorous schedule.
I shot thousands of free throws and outside shots, I ran miles, and conditioned for hours before I was ready to travel or play in my first game. The more that I went through with the team, the stronger I got. In other words, my “perseverance had to increase” so I could mature as an athlete. Through this experience, I learned many valuable lessons that the Lord is still using in my life as a teacher/coach today. It wasn’t easy traveling or playing in that many games, but I grew as a person because of it.
Likewise, God allows us to go through trials in our Christian life. Each time that God provides for me through trial, He is building my faith, endurance, and perseverance. Working with the girls’ basketball team has been a true joy, as I have had the amazing opportunity to come alongside them to encourage them to persevere even when they don’t see immediate results.