Sarah Roberts: How to Handle Losing Seasons
The following post was written by Sarah Roberts, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes staff in Oklahoma. It originally appeared on her blog Trophy Wives.Sarah's twitter handle is @fcatrophywife.
Let me introduce you to the Putnam City West High School softball team. They are a group of girls that I have come to know and love. Some of these girls have troubling backgrounds and questionable pasts but amazing overcoming spirits. They love their coaches, they love being together, but they haven't won a game in three years and this year they have started off the year 0-16. I had the opportunity to go speak and hang out with the team this week. They taught me a few things about getting through a life that just seems like you are losing all the time. Yes, they can get discouraged. Yes, they asked the "why" questions. But Yes, they believe it is important to keep going.
As I was thinking about these PC West girls, I couldn't help but think their story of losing, their story of discouragement, and their story of overcoming sounded similar to a man in the bible named Habakkuk. Whatever you are facing to today, whatever this life has thrown at you this week, how many losses you have felt like you have faced....let God uses these stories to help you get through yours.
Habakkuk was a prophet in the old testament during a time when God's people were being persecuted by the Babylonians. They were losing and losing big time. Habakkuk was extremely discouraged and voiced that discouragement to God. "How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?" (Habakkuk 1:2). I don't know about you, but I have cried out similar complaints to God wanting to know if He hears me and if hears me why is he being so silent. God's answer to him is one that he want to give to us. "Look at the nations and watch-and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." (Habakkuk 1:5) God is saying to us...Trust me. Although you do not hear me, trust me. Although you do not see me, trust me. Although you may not feel me, trust me.
But like Habakkuk, we want a little bit more information about why when we are losing, it appears that everyone around us, including our enemies, are winning. (Habakkuk 1:12-17). Everyone else's teams are winning. Everyone else's marriages are thriving. Everyone else's children are perfectly behaved. Everyone else is healthy with healthy parents and healthy children. Everyone else seems to be winning in this life, but I am just trying to survive this day. Can you relate? So how do we get through, what appears to us, like a losing season? By realizing God does hear our cries. He does here our discouragements. God does listen to our struggles. And God does answer our prayers...every single one of them. That's right....Garth Brooks was wrong, there are no "unanswered prayers." We learn through the story of Habakkuk that God answers all prayers with yes, no, or not right now.
"Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.....but the righteous will live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:3-4) God is telling us write down the promises I have given you and focus on those, believe those, put our faith in those. It's the promises that "God will never leave me nor forsake me", "God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit," "God will work all things to the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose, "God the father is always at work and Jesus, too is working".....it's these promises that get us through the losing seasons and helps us praise Jesus when we have winning ones!
I don't know about you, but it's not the winning seasons of life that bring me to my knees as much as it is the losing ones.
As I was closing my time with this sweet softball team, one precious girl asked me why I do what I do? I told her it was because God wanted me to come to teams like this one and girls like her who might be going through a losing season on and/or off the softball field and give them some joy and that joy is Jesus. Because like Habakkuk, "though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior."
You see....With Jesus you may go through hard times, but you never lose.