God or Games?
God or Games?
By Adam Ricci
I sprinted through the short grass, extending my arm to its full length and snagged the baseball with my glove.
“Great catch!” Coach cheered as I threw the ball back to him, beaming at my success.
It was one of our last practices before the Little League season started and Coach was trying to get us into the best shape possible, before our first game. He launched the ball skyward for the next player on my team to catch. He wasn't quite so lucky, I noticed, as the ball sailed well beyond his reach. “Better luck next time!” my coach called.
“Sorry, I didn't think it was going that way,” my teammate apologized.
“It wasn't your fault, I threw it too far,” Coach replied. “Well, that's it for today team! You did well. Remember that our first game is next Saturday. But we have a few more practices to go.”
My smile faded. What was I going to do? Sabbath, I had always been taught, was for worshiping God. I had known something like this might happen, but I had hoped it wouldn't. The people I was playing with didn't believe Saturday was the Sabbath, a day for rest and worship like I did. I walked towards the car, many things running through my mind. I was so caught up in my thoughts that I walked past the car. About four cars later, I realized what I had done, and turned around to find it. When I got in, my mom could tell something was wrong.
"What's the matter, Adam?” she asked.
I sighed, then replied, “The game is on Sabbath. I don't know what to do.”
“You know how I feel, but it's your decision. What if you pray about it?” she answered softly.
I turned my head to the side. Thinking out loud I said, “But it's only one game, does it really matter?” She knew I was just pondering what to do out loud, so she remained silent. We continued in silence during the short ride home. As we pulled up to our house, I broke the silence. “I guess you're right, praying is really the only option.” I jumped out of the car and ran inside.
Since as long as I could remember I had been taught to read the Bible and pray about any decision that I wasn't sure what God would want me to do. This was definitely one of those times. I picked up my Bible, then sat on my bed and started to pray, “Lord, I don't know what to do, and I really need Your help. You know I'm struggling with this, and I want to know Your will. Amen.” I opened my eyes, and flipped the Bible randomly. The page fell open to Isaiah 58:13 Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don't pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD's holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don't follow your own desires or talk idly. (New Living Translation)
I read the verse a few times, thinking that it was written for me. I bowed my head once again, but rather than being confused and unsure of myself, I was now confident in my decision. “Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for showing me this verse. You knew exactly what I needed to read. Amen.”
As I lay in bed later that night, I knew what I had to do. I was slightly worried, I had no idea how my coach would react. As a general rule, players were expected to go to all the baseball games. I didn't want to be labeled as the kid who would skip games. But I knew I couldn't go.
On the way to practice a couple days later, my mom popped the question. “So what are you going to do about the game on Sabbath?”
“I'm not going. I was reading in the Bible and I found a verse that convinced me that it wasn't what God wanted.”
“I'm glad to hear that, I was praying for you,” she said with a smile.
“Thank you, I love you Mom!” I smiled back at her.
“I love you too.” She hugged me then continued, “Now you have to get to practice!”
“Bye!” I called as I ran off towards the baseball diamond. All through practice I looked for an opportunity to talk to Coach alone, but none came. I guessed I would have to just wait until afterwards to talk to him. After giving us our final instructions, and our uniforms, the coach turned to gather up his things while the rest of the team dispersed. I walked up to him.
“Coach, I'm not going to be able to play this coming Saturday.” I declared.
“Why not?” he looked up from his papers.
“Well, it's my Sabbath, and I don't think I should be playing baseball instead of going to church.” I was starting to feel a little bolder as I continued to talk. “I hope you don't mind, but I have made my decision. I should be able to make it to all the other games, just not this one.”
“Well, as much as we want you there, I understand. We'll miss you, but we will be able to do without you for one day,” he replied.
“Thanks Coach,” I smiled.
On my way back to the car, I couldn't help thinking about how amazing it was, I had been worried over how Coach would react, and he was fine with it. It was right then I realized how truly amazing God was.