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Staying the Course

Last Monday night. Independence High School football field in Thompson's Station, TN. The 6th game in a 7-game season for the 9th-grade squad. Both sets of grandparents are on hand to support grandson Seth Pearson. Seth is number 16, the 2nd string quarterback, and to this point has not played a single snap all year. He had been to every practice, worked out faithfully with the team, knew the playbook, and watched on the sidelines at every game. His uniform was clean as a whistle. First quarter? No action. Second quarter? No action. Third quarter? No action. A couple of grandmothers were plotting to "have a word with the coach."

Finally, in the closing 3 1/2 minutes of the 4th quarter, the coach sent Seth in. I think I detected a few tears in his dad's eyes. His momma's heart was racing so wildly she could barely breathe. Seth was told to hand the ball off to the running back for 3 plays in a row.

Then, on 4th and 2, he launched a pass that was caught for a big gain.

Seth's cheering section went wild. The game ended shortly after that pass. Independence won the game. Seth's smile lit up the night.

Clearly, all the practices and waiting had been worth it for those moments he was on the field. Seth might not play anymore this season, but he'll be happy he had his chance.

I'm certainly proud of Seth's athletic ability. He's a great kid with a huge heart. But my love for him was not dependent on him completing a pass, and I believe he knows that. I admire him for not giving up, for not quitting the team after seeing no action during the first five games, for not developing a bad attitude toward the coach or the first-string quarterback. I appreciate the sweat he's produced and the aching muscles he's endured. I firmly believe all those things would have been true even if he'd gone all seven games without getting on the field.

Seth set a good example for his grandmother Monday night. He didn't let discouragement define or defeat him.

God doesn't want discouragement to defeat His children either. He's on our side. He loves us no matter what. And in His eyes, we are winners.

Deuteronomy 31:8 -- "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Jeremiah 29:11 -- "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Romans 8:28 -- "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

1 Peter 5:7 -- "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."

Isaiah 41:10 -- "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Isaiah 40:31 -- "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

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