When I Hated What I Needed

Encouragement for Your Heart and Mind from Pastor David Staff

As a Middle School boy, I fell in love with two things.

The first was the Bible.  Shortly after I bent my 9-year-old heart (and knees) before Christ, my parents gave me a new Scofield Reference Bible.  I still have it.  It is all marked up with blue, green, yellow underlining.  King James Version with many old-English words I’d never encountered before.  But it didn’t matter.  The Spirit began speaking through the Word, and I was understanding it.  My hunger for the Scriptures in the Library only increased as at age 12 I was baptized.

The second was Basketball.  My growth spurt came later, which meant I was shorter than the Middle School cheerleaders.  No matter.  I found a ball the summer rec department was throwing away and began bouncing it, shooting it, and imagine that I too could be John Havlicek or Sam Jones of the Boston Celtics.  Every Sunday I watched them play on the TV.  When Dad fastened the fan backboard and a hoop on the double car-garage, I drove the lane, shot, and rebounded any miss for countless hours.

In high school, Bradford’s basketball coach was also the cross country coach.  That meant running cross country in the Fall for Jerry Verwey before playing ball for him in the Winter. Which meant long distance running.

Which I hated.  Thoroughly hated.  Each fall afternoon, along the Kenosha (WI) shoreline of Lake Michigan, 15 of us would gather to run mile upon mile.  My body never hurt so much.  My breath was never in such short supply.  The rigor of running messed with my head.  Every day when classes ended, the mental battle began.  Do I go to another day of CC practice, or not?
The only reason I was there was because I wanted to become something else.  A decent, competitive basketball player.

By God’s grace, it worked.  Jerry Verwey was a terrific coach, and as a senior, I was an all-conference guard.  But the battle didn’t end.

When invited to play ball for a small college in Indiana, my struggle with the physical discipline of the sport continued.  The demanding nature of collegiate-level training and practice multiplied exponentially in the Lancer gym. Coach Kammerer crafted relentless practices which wrung one out like a dishrag.  Again, each afternoon, I would sit in the library at 3:00 PM debating if I were going to go to the next practice.

I did.  Day after day.  Yet so often, I hated what I needed most.

Yet again, by God’s grace, it worked.  Coach’s demands, and patience, made me a much better player than I ever thought I could be.


Why this extended autobiography of days (and ability) long since past?  There are experiences in your life, designed by your heavenly Father (and Coach), which you may be tempted to hate.  The experience may go on for some time.  They may be demanding, exhausting, relentless  You may wonder for hours why as a son or daughter of God you are being required to go through such things.  You may question the purpose for them.  You may agonize over the toll required.

Indeed, you may hate what you need most.

Your Coach knows.  And He’s not kept from you the purpose.  Listening to Him and not quitting is what you are called do…as well as not hating what He is putting you through.

This Sunday, we will explore this important proverb.  My son, do not despite the Lord’s discipline, or be weary of His reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom He loves, as a father the son in whom He delights (Proverbs 3:11-12).

See you Sunday morning.
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