When Basketball Isn’t God’s Will

Right from my personal notebook.

Right from my personal notebook.

I’m continuing a series I started on Monday called When Obedience is Costly. Yesterday I mentioned I would elaborate on how saying yes to something means saying no to other things. Obedience to God is costly because sometimes saying ‘yes’ just isn’t the right thing to do, even if the choice is one we greatly desire.

Our kids all played basketball. This biased mom thinks they were each pretty good. As would be expected, though, the son who topped out at 6’5″ was a particularly welcome addition to his teams. His high school coach had connections at a local university and offered to arrange a walk-on tryout for Jesse. While he had no guarantees of making the team, Benny wisely advised our son to walk through the decision-making process prior to the tryout. After all, being offered a spot on a team could too easily color his decision after the fact. (Benny and I have learned the hard way that most decisions should be anticipated before rather than during emotionally charged situations.)

We went to dinner one night to talk things through. Benny explained the principle above and encouraged Jesse to make a list of the things he would be saying ‘no’ to if he said ‘yes’ to playing for the University of Central Florida. Jesse was understandably intrigued by the possibility of playing college ball. What athlete wouldn’t be? And, honestly, our family would have been his biggest fans if that was God’s plan.

Jesse left that evening knowing he had a formidable assignment from Dad. He had to prayerfully and practically consider all the situations and relationships that would be affected by the rigors of collegiate sports. When we got back together several days later to talk, Jesse soberly told us he thought he should tell his coach not to schedule the tryout. A part of him desperately wanted to know if he could make the team. When he saw on paper the lengthy list of what he would say no to, however, saying yes to the opportunity to play college ball just didn’t weigh enough.

Only God knew that what was just around the corner for our son was a relationship with the woman who is now his wife and the mom of his three sons, plus an opportunity to pursue his dream of becoming a pastor (something that he put on hold for now while he provides for his family as an IT guy).

Obeying God is sometimes crystal clear and other times clear as mud. More on that tomorrow.

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