Losing is not fun. It hurts to lose basketball games, and it especially hurts to lose watching from the bench. But I was used to the bench, since I've never been a starter. That changed this season, when I became a starter and unofficial team captain. So why was I on the bench? I wish I could say. I don't know why. I was not played as much as normal last night, and I was not played as much in two of three tournament games today. After losing the last game to finish in third place, I wasn't happy. I didn't like many of the coach's decisions. I knew two guys playing for the other team, and really wanted to beat them. The team was rewarded with a very tall and shiny 3rd place trophy, but I muttered under my breath, "In what kinda tournament do you go 1-2 and still win 3rd place?" All of this to say, I had a bad attitude. I didn't wanna talk to anyone, and needed to blow some steam.
On the way home, I played Hillsong Chapel's new album on my iPod. As I focused on the lyrics, it hit me: losing is irrelevant. I realized that there's really only two important things: that God defeated evil and the war is already over, and that the only thing I can do now is keep up the good fight until King Jesus comes to eliminate all evil with epic finality. I am offered immense and incomprehensible hope in Jesus' name because He has done everything for us, and simply asks us to follow Him, train ourselves to fight for Him, and trust in His promises.
It seems so simple! When you really think about it, we have it so easy. Look at how the Old Testament people had to live. They pretty much were told to do an endless list of painstaking rules and regulations. But us, here, today? We're in good Hands, as long as we follow God with everything we have and never lose faith, hope, or love. God will reign forever and ever, and what we do with our life here will decide whether or not we'll reign with Him.
So while I may still be upset about my lack of playing time, I have to look at the situation through God's eyes. Even though there's only eight of us Junior Varsity players, and even though we've only won two games, and even though we're not a very good team, and even though the plan was to get a job and dual-enroll and not play, God wants me to play basketball this year. It's hard to accept that, because since this isn't a worldly success, it seems wasteful. But God sees it very differently. Through playing this year, I've learned irreplaceable leadership qualities, I've become good friends with some nice young men and a fun and energetic coach, and I've matured greatly. Of course I hate playing only Varsity teams (and getting crushed by them). Of course I don't like being a Junior on JV. Of course a job and college credits seem like a "better" plan for my future. But it obviously isn't what God wants, so even though it feels wasteful and like a painful failure, God wants me to play basketball. Why? Because this is just another step in training myself to be a better soldier in my King's army.