In case you didn’t know, it is baseball season. This year, I have been spending A LOT of time on the ball field. Our middle son, Benjamin has had the opportunity to play in the Majors division for Rocky Mount Little League. He is one of the youngest players on his team and he has spent most of his season learning the art of playing baseball from the dugout. Sure he has had his turns at bat, and gotten some great plays in the outfield, but the majority of his time has been spent on the bench.
As I have helped him walk through this season, God has been teaching me quite a bit. The hard fact is that every season of life is not home runs and big plays but much of what God wants us to know is learned when all we can do is sit back and watch. The times when we feel like God is ignoring us and has left us in the dark to rot, may be time that God is using to prepare us for a more glamorous role down the road.
For one, we need to learn to have a spirit of surrender to whatever God’s call is in each season. There is joy and peace in doing what God has called us to do, even if it isn’t what we want to be doing. Often our desire to do something “bigger” gets in the way of the truly eternally infinite things God is doing in us. God sent Moses and the whole Israelite nation to chill in the wilderness dugout for 40 years. Joseph, sat on the bench in prison for way more than nine innings while God was sovereignly preparing him to rule Egypt and save millions from starvation. We cannot control the length of time we spend there, but we can control our response to it. We can seek God and ensure that we are using even the down times for God's glory keeping our heart attitude positive and willing.
Secondly, dugout seasons remind us that it is not about us. Pride counts the runs on the board that it scored. Humility accepts that the whole team wins and losses as a team regardless of any one player’s ability. Even the kid in the dugout wins if the team wins. When we accept our position no matter how great or how small with joy and servant-hood; God is glorified in the victory. In Exodus 14:13-14 is says, “… But Moses told the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the LORD’s salvation, which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” The only thing God asked them to do was watch. What better view of the game can you get then from the dugout!
Finally, God has been teaching Benjamin and I that even when it feels like no one sees you, God is watching. When Benjamin is on the bench, I know he is there. I watch what he does. I see him cheer for his teammates, get baseballs for the Coach, and help find lost gloves or hats as players go back on the field. I see him share seeds with the other dugout peeps. He always knows the score, he is never not “in the game.” Scripture is clear that those who are faithful in the small things will be trusted with big things (Luke 16:10). God sees us serving where we are. He is fully aware that the dugout life is no party, but He honors those who make the most of it.
Regardless of whether you are currently in the dugout or on the pitcher’s mound, ask yourself how God can use you for His glory and the advancement of His kingdom? Be encouraged!