Last night we traveled to Robbinsville, NC to watch the football game. Everyone had high hopes that we would walk away with a win. We didn't. The offense was off all night and while the defense had three strong quarters, by the fourth quarter they were worn down. It was a hard night. Lots of yellow flags were thrown in the air against the visiting team. It seemed that every time we managed to gain ground on the field or complete a pass, out came a yellow flag that sent us back in the wrong direction. At one point in the third quarter the penalties became so ridiculous that everyone was on their feet yelling...including me. Our coach, who is very self-controlled, called the boys off the field and we started to leave. The frustration level and anger at the unfairness was brimming over. Luckily for us, the visitor's side was within 3 feet of the sidelines. We were able to pull Zach aside and tell him to calm down. Bob kept telling him to "do it right, do it right."
You sit there and you watch your son, who feels that his ability to get the "hardest hit in the game" is the main motivator for the defense and if he doesn't get that key hit, then he is the reason the defense is struggling. You watch him go out on the field and make some really impressive plays and then you watch him miscalculate and let a player slip through the line. You watch him beat himself up because he feels that he's let down the team. You sit with him after the game as he cries in frustration. Frustrated by his mistakes, frustrated by the bad calls, frustrated by the unfairness, and frustrated that he let down his coach and team.
So, what do you say? Bob shared with him how he always felt the same way when he played high school football. He told him how he remembered shouldering that responsibility. He told him how he learned to handle the pressure and the disappointment. We told him that on that field he learned one of life's hardest lessons....Life isn't fair all the time. Stuff happens that is beyond your control. How you handle yourself during the battle and after the battle is the real test of character.
Today I'll take the time time to relate last night's experience to our spiritual life. We'll talk about how the emotions he felt last night was similar to what many men in Bible experienced. For example, how that oppressive feeling of letting someone down was what Peter experienced after he denied Christ. Then we'll talk about what they did afterwards. How they took that experience and allowed it to mold their character and faith in a positive way. We'll talk about how to take that experience and use it to become a better person.
I love this boy. I've always known that God gave him a strong will for a reason. I pray that he will continue to allow God to mold him into a Godly man. A man who chases after Him with the same intensity he has on the field when he's chasing a receiver. A man who is bold for Christ and doesn't let mistakes distract him.
I think he is learning that lesson.