“And the Gospel must first be preached to all nations.” — Mark 13:10
It was the ninth inning, and our team was trying to close out the game. We had a slight lead, and our pitcher was doing his best to get us the victory against one of our rival teams in the Alaska Baseball League. Our team members that year had been unusually outspoken about their faith, so what they stood for was no secret to everyone in the league.
Normally, the other teams don’t make too big of a deal out of what we choose to do but, on this night, our opponents did. In their desire for a rally, their cheering turned to jeering, insulting, cussing, stripping off their shirts and jerseys, and overall causing a racket in their dugout. The noise got louder with every tiny call that seemed to lean in their favor and, sadly, the umpires and coaches did nothing to stop it. I watched to see what our guys would do … and I prayed … hard! And what I witnessed next that night brought tears to my eyes.
I watched our players handle themselves like men. They put feet to their words of faith as they didn’t respond at all and merely pressed through and kept playing. I could tell the whole scene had shaken them, but I also watched as the catcher kept going out to the mound to tell the pitcher to keep his head. I watched other players making eye contact with one another as if to say, “We’ll be all right. God’s got this.” A few intense minutes later, the win was ours, and our opponents left deflated.
Weeks later, as we do with the other teams in the league, our team got to share the Gospel with that opposing team and one of the other team’s players actually came up later to apologize to us for his/their behavior earlier in the season. Who knows what seeds were sown simply by choosing to stand together in faith?
Christ makes it clear to us that we are not assured an easy road in this life simply because we follow Him. Rather, He promises that we will be mistreated, insulted, misunderstood and wrongly accused for choosing to stand with Him and do His will. Jesus pointed out to His disciples that in order to proclaim the Gospel, they would have to suffer great things, but He promised them that, in the midst of all this unfair treatment, they would be given His peace and Holy Spirit to comfort and guide them through it. All He asked of them was to endure (Mark 13:9-13). And isn’t this a word of hope to us when we encounter the same?
In this world, we will inevitably face persecution of some sort for what we believe, but when we stand firm in God’s love, we are empowered to walk through anything that might arise, and to do so in faith and hope because He has overcome (Romans 8:31-39). So keep your head in the game today. God’s got this.
— Katherine Singer
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