Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Stop and Listen – Matthew Boyd

If there was one thing I want to focus on this year it would listening to God. Recently, it’s become more and more evident to me just how important this is. The offseason is such a great time of year for this — it’s not nearly as hectic and I have time to read God’s Word and meditate on it. As I do so, I’m not only seeking the Lord, I’m trying to listen to Him.

It’s really easy to feel good about life when things are going well, but when things start to get hard, you begin searching for answers. In years past, I haven’t listened. I’ve sought answers and asked God for wisdom, but I didn’t allow Him to respond. I would try to figure it all out on my own and the questions would consume me. They would preoccupy me at home, on the field, and in between starts. I would be talking with my teammates or wife without really being present in the conversation; my thoughts would be on my next start instead of truly believing God’s in control.

Over the past year, with all the good things that have happened and the struggles I faced, I realized that listening to God is crucial. At all times I must seek His voice and then be silent to hear Him respond. I want to hear what it is He’s saying to me so I can respond to His call.

Listening to God begins with me meditating on what He’s speaking to me through Scripture. This can be easier when I’m on the road and not distracted by doing stuff with my family or the daily routine of practice. But no matter where I am, setting aside time to read, reflect and meditate is a must.

I’m learning that, in all situations, I need to present whatever is on my heart to God instead of trying to control it myself. From the smallest of things, such as a broken toe or blister, to the bigger roadblocks, I need to surrender it all to Him. There are times when I need to pray, “I just can’t throw a strike right now. Help me, Father.” Or, “I’ve had two bad innings and I can’t figure out what’s wrong. My mind is a whirlwind! Guide me, Father.” Even in baseball, I can’t get by on my own, I need His helping hand.

Sometimes what we’re facing in life seems huge to us, but God is able. When I know and believe God goes before me, my heart is at ease. He’s at my right hand, battling for me. I need to know this to experience the peace He promises — the peace to know He can do this and I don’t need to on my own.

The battle is already won; He has conquered all the things that are bothering me right now. When you’re able to give it to God, He will bring things to your mind and heart to show you where to go. He will provide you with the peace you need to make it through. It’s easy to let the momentary troubles that bombard you consume you, but if your eyes are on Him, and your worries are given over to Him, He will show you He’s in control and has a way out of the mess.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” — 1 Corinthians 10:13

I have this verse written on my mirror at home so I can memorize it. Hopefully I can be in a position this year where I’m not only living this truth out in my own life, but I’m also presenting it to my teammates in a way that points them toward the pursuit of Christ.

Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers pitcher

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