“Getting Benched,” New Era, February 2017
For most of the four years I played high school basketball, I’d been a starter and never missed a game. So when my coach told me that I wasn’t doing enough for the team and wouldn’t be starting the next game, something inside me broke. I’d been benched.
Trying not to cry, I ran out of the gym and, for the first time in my life, felt like giving up. And right then, for some reason, the word fortitude came to mind.
Fortitude means “courage in pain or adversity.” I lifted my head. Fortitude. No one was asking me to do this alone. Hands shaking, I opened my phone and searched the lyrics to “Come, Come, Ye Saints” (Hymns, no. 30). As I read the words, I felt I was being gently reminded of two things.
First, the lyrics ask, “Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? ’Tis not so; all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?” And I remembered to be grateful.
Then, second, I read, “Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake; and soon we’ll have this tale to tell—all is well! All is well!” And I remembered to be brave.