Victory in Spite of the Pain

Fall brings a few of my favorite things: traveling in the NC Mountains to admire the beautiful foliage, spending an afternoon picking apples, or drinking a warm pumpkin spiced beverage; however, my son has created a different pastime for me. I have never considered myself a football fan, but I now have the opportunity to spend fall evenings cheering for my favorite lineman and his high school teammates.

After two grueling losses, the fans were elated to celebrate alongside our team after their recent win. I saw one of the coaches after the game and congratulated him, but his response caught me by surprise.

Instead of offering an enthusiastic response about the win, he sighed and stated, “That game was painful to watch.”

I was rejoicing because of the victory, but the coach saw everything that could have been detrimental to the team. While I focused on the number of times our team ran the ball into the end zone, the coach’s attention was on the things that I overlooked.

He remembered the injuries that his players sustained, the yards that his team lost, and the moves that resulted in penalties. Mistakes were made during the game. I am sure the coach wanted the players to remember the drills and the plays that were covered during practice in order to prevent those mistakes from happening.

Those drills were designed to prepare them for the most intense moments of the game. The moments that the team fell short were painful to watch because he knew what he had taught them.

Although there was a victory, there were still disappointments during the game. As I walked away from the coach, I wondered if there was anything that I could have said in response to his statement.

Instead of having an answer, his words continued to resonate with me. I was immediately reminded of the moments in my life that have been painful to watch.

There were times that I knew exactly what I should do, but the pressure from the battle and the aggression of the opponent have caused me to rely on my own strength instead of acting upon the scripture that I rehearsed and committed to memory during peaceful moments of my life.

I have experienced some easy wins in life, but there have been wins that have cost me so much. Those hard wins remind me of my son’s football game.

I have made some moves before He instructed me to do so. I have allowed the enemy to intercept things that were heading in my direction. I have been hit so hard that I needed assistance getting up and moving again.

There were times that I did not know if the outcome would favorable, but my Coach, the Holy Spirit, has always kept a watchful eye on me—even when I felt alone.

At this time, I refuse to reflect on the mistakes and disappointments of the past. I will not rehearse the hurts and the betrayals that I have experienced from those close to me. I will maintain a heart of thanksgiving and remind myself that I am victorious.

A trip to the apple orchard pales in comparison to the divine revelation that I received after that football game.

The trial or test that we face may have been painful to watch, but in the end, we win.