By Dee Aspin
The black spotted desert mountains set a bright backdrop for the dozen aspiring teenagers who gathered for off-season football drills the day after the NFC, AFC championship games.
They met by yellow goalposts on an empty football field not unlike one they hoped to work/play surrounded by pom-pom girls and cheering crowds someday in college.
First, the coach addressed the quarterbacks as they practiced footwork, quick stepping through a rope ladder laying on the ground. Their legs darted up and down like the needle on a sewing machine at high speed. Suddenly each one stopped, spun around and passed the ball, sometimes accurately—often not.
“Remember the R word?" The coach asked the students, referring to the TV commentators observations the day before.
“RELAX!” he shouted sternly.
“It’s important for the quarterback to stay relaxed,” my brother explained to me. “When the lineman’s about to pounce you and you’re trying to watch the field and decide where to throw, you have to stay calm to make an accurate pass—you can’t make good decisions if you are not relaxed.”
Next, the receivers stood in line to practice running pass patterns. Each boy took turns sprinting hard quickly looking back over his shoulder to eye the ball blazing toward him, darting left, right and sometimes lunging high to grasp it—if he could.
“Remember!” the coach yelled. “Stop and go. Don’t be in a hurry.”
If they didn’t pause to look where the ball was going, it didn’t matter how fast they were running—they wouldn’t be in the right place at the right time to catch it.
Then I watched the kicker deftly pummel his cleated foot into each football from the pile gathered by the holder. Sometimes a gale of wind rose shifting the ball outside of the posts at the last minute.
“Remember, you’re kicking it straight—straight up,” the coach softly instructed.
Just like the Bible mentions to keep a straight course and not be like a person who shifts with the wind, so he concentrated hard to plant his foot with precision—and send the ball between the poles.
Remember. Each boy, no matter what his position, was called to remember the coaches instructions, and keep remembering with every practice run and then later when they would be surrounded by a packed stadium of onlookers, and they were playing where each move counts toward victory or loss.
Remember. As believers we need to remember the words of Jesus, our coach and captain. His words are true and they bring life. He told us in John 14:26 that He would send us the Holy Spirit, our Comforter and Counselor; and he would remind us what Jesus taught us. His words endure any season we must plough through. We can trust His guidance, His faithfulness and his knowledge of life’s playing field.
Relax. How do we stay calm when enemies surround us? When we fear for our life? Trust the coach and our instincts.
Don’t be in a hurry? How can we pause when there is so much to do? Trust the coach and learn timing in our lives.
Aim straight? But circumstances change and we feel pressure to ease up, to change direction. Trust the coach and stay focused, don’t fret …stand against the winds of life. Remember, our coach has experienced what we do. He aimed for the goalposts when he was being beaten, when his friends encouraged him to try a different approach, when the skies were black with thunder. He knows the field, the end zone and the goalposts of heaven.
Luke 24:8 And they remembered His words…
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Dee is an RN, freelance writer and coach. A native of Northern California, she enjoys the great outdoors with her happy dogs, a yellow lab and miniature schnauzer. She has volunteered with the Juvenile Justice Chaplaincy many years. Her Devotion Bible study guide for women, www.LordoftheRingless.com has just been released. Visit Dee at deeaspin.com.
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