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Go Up Strong

My oldest son has developed quite the liking for the game of basketball. Each year, we sign him up for Little League and he eagerly awaits the start of the season. While the league is sorted by age groups (e.g., 9 & 10 year-olds), each group is comprised of players of all heights and sizes. My boy is of average height and size. As he has grown older with each passing season, he has come to associate taller players as being intimidating. He would find himself situated near the goal, ball in hand, perfectly positioned to shoot and score, yet would pass the ball back out-of- range to another teammate to avoid attempting to shoot the ball over a taller opponent. He verbalized being fearful of shooting the ball when a taller opponent was guarding him.

Having been a basketball player myself, I know the feeling of a taller opponent towering over me when I was preparing to shoot the ball, and I know the solution, so I shared it with him: “Go up strong.” Simple advice, but accurate nonetheless. I was coached to go up strong and hard with the shot when positioned so closely to the goal, regardless of the size of my opponent. I learned when the ball was passed to me and I was situated that closely to the goal, it was unwise to forfeit a high chance of scoring. Many times I scored and sometimes I was blocked, while others I was fouled and received two free shots as a result. Never did I have any chance of success whatsoever when I became timid, backed down, and diverted the ball back out of range.

Go Up Strong!

Never did I have any chance of success whatsoever when I became timid, backed down, and diverted the ball back out of range.

Fast forward to the morning of his first game of the season: I was pondering over my son’s nervousness, and thought to myself, “If he could just get a taste of going up strong one time and score, he would understand there is no need for fear, and he would be unstoppable.” As typical of the Holy Spirit, I received a holy tap on the shoulder that bade me to apply that same advice to my own life.

“If he could just get a taste of going up strong one time and score, he would understand there is no need for fear, and he would be unstoppable.”

I have dealt with my own personal fears and anxieties at certain points in life, as have we all. In spite of what God’s Word clearly says about the power He has equipped me with, I have found myself hunkering down at times with the fear of being incapable of overcoming. What a lie! The Holy Spirit has given us ALL that we need to GO UP STRONG against the opponent, believing and embracing in faith that His strength is perfect in our weaknesses, with the knowledge that through Him, we will be overwhelmingly successful in overcoming any trial. And once the Christian gets a taste of that. . . .

During the game, we watched proudly as our son went up strong with each shot. After the game, his head was held a little higher with the knowledge that with the right information, with strategy, he could successfully overcome the opponent. One opportunity of putting into practice what he had learned, and he became assured that future challenges would be nothing to fear, and that he would be successful. It is no different with us. Each trial can be used as an opportunity for growth and a deeper trust in Jesus Christ. James 1:2-4 [NKJV] reads, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Romans 5:3-4 [NKJV] states, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Romans 8:37, Romans 5:4, 1 John 4:4

Written by: Mandy Lowery Morrow

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