Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they had won over the crowds and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. After the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.Acts 14: 19-20

Evaluating players at tryouts is a necessary evil that many coaches are asked to participate in. It’s very difficult to pick a team, especially when there are so many players that have such comparable skills and abilities. As I was evaluating goalies at one tryout there came a critical moment involving comparing two extremely similar goalies. We ended up choosing one for only one small reason that many people may never understand: it was how he played when things got bad. We noticed that there was a significant difference in the attitude and the focus of these two goalies when, after having two or three shots in a row go in, only one of them had the ability to refocus and make a tough save.

The ability to refocus oneself and move on after a challenging situation is something that is important in sports and in life. In sports, we teach that the most important shot that you have is always the next one. This is important not just in sports but in our Christian faith, as oftentimes circumstances unfold in a way that are not what we had in mind. In Acts 14, Paul faced great persecution as he was faithfully sharing the gospel. His message angered the Jews so they began to stone him, and believing he was dead, dragged him out of the city. However, after the disciples surrounded Paul, he got up, went into town and the next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe to continue sharing the gospel. Paul had incredible faith and boldness, and he possessed great determination to look beyond his circumstances and know what God wanted from him next.

Sometimes we can get knocked down, even when we have noble pursuits that honor God and expect that we will be acknowledged, or that there will be a favorable outcome to our efforts. When this happens, we have to dust ourselves off and keep going, because as Christians though we may have some things in common with people who aren’t pursuing God, our ability to trust God when times get tough can be a great witness, encouragement and source of strength to the many people who are closely watching how we live our lives.

Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.

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