As with all sports, when there is lightning in the area, players are typically required to wait thirty minutes from the last observed lightning strike before they retake the field.  During an important early season game, a lightning delay became an opportunity of private preparation for our team.  As we anxiously sat in the locker room awaiting the opportunity to finish the game that we were midway through, players passed the time in different ways. As the coach, it was hard to keep them focused because we didn’t know how long the delay would be. 

Many times, I’ve stressed the importance of juggling to our goalies. Our two goalies decided to use this unanticipated delay as a chance to practice their juggling – juggling faster and faster to hone their skills.  It was apparent whether the game was able to continue or not, the practice was productive. It turns out, this delay was vitally important to the outcome of the game. 

When the game resumed, our goalie played in a way that I had never seen before, and it became clear to him why I had always stressed the importance of juggling.

Sometimes in our lives God intentionally brings delays to accomplish His purposes.  After his radical conversion, Paul spent three years in the desert.  When he was alone, God was preparing him for the incredible ministry He had for him.

But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.  I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas[a] and stayed with him fifteen days.  

Galatians 1:15-18

What happened during Paul’s desert years was only the beginning of a life-long process—God renewing his mind and transforming him into the image of Christ.  Just as our team’s private time in the locker room helped to better prepare us for a victory, your private time with the Lord will help you hear what it is that He wants to do in your life and prepare you for something great that lies ahead.  The next time you experience a delay you didn’t anticipate, use the practice time wisely and trust the instruction of our ultimate coach.   His thoughts, ways and plans are always preparing us for what He has next!

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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