I'll Just Quit

I'd waited forever to wear a varsity jersey. Had Coach forgotten that?
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"Congratulations, man!" exclaimed my buddy Alex* when he greeted me at my locker. "Today's the big day, right?"

"Yeah!" I said, giving him a huge grin. "I've been waiting forever for this!"

I shoved my books into the locker and grabbed my racquet. As I sprinted toward the tennis courts, my heart pounded with excitement because I was confident that in a matter of minutes I'd be wearing a dark red varsity jersey. No more "little league" tourneys. From now on I'd be playing in the big matches.

When I got to the court, Coach Webber was in the middle of the big announcement.

"Three new guys will be joining the team this year," he said. He tossed the first jersey to Jack and the next to Rick. I held my hands in the air, all set to grab my own jersey as it sailed through the air. But like some horrible slow–motion replay of a bad sports moment, I watched as the last jersey—my jersey—landed in Dylan's hands.

What just happened? I thought, completely confused. Coach Webber had promised that he'd put me on. Had he forgotten? Was he mad at me?

Just then Coach Webber came up to me.

"Sorry, Josh," he said, lowering his voice. "But I really think it would serve you and the other players better if you remained on the JV team for another year." And with that, he walked away.

I wanted to scream, "What? Are you kidding me?!" But instead I just stood there, stunned, as if I'd just been hit hard in the forehead by a flying tennis ball.

That afternoon when I got home from school, I threw my racquet across the yard and screamed, "It's so unfair!"

Then I dumped on Mom, who ran out to see what was wrong.

"Coach didn't tell me why he changed his mind!" I said through clenched teeth. "His excuse was so lame! It would 'serve' the JV team better? What does that even mean?!"

"I don't blame you for being so upset, but try to look at the situation from the coach's perspective," Mom suggested. "He wants what's best for the team, right? Maybe he sees something you can't."

"Like what?!" I asked, angry that Mom seemed to be siding with my coach. "I'm so much better this year! And I did everything he asked me to. In fact, I played in way more off–season matches than Dylan, and he made varsity. That's not fair! Forget it. I'm sick of this. Tomorrow I'm quitting!"

I dropped to the ground, totally drained and feeling completely defeated.

Mom leaned down and asked softly, "Remember what you told me happened in youth group last week?"

I nodded. We had talked about how God has a plan for each of us. We read Proverbs 3:5-6, which says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths" (NLT).

"Yeah," I mumbled. "I realized I didn't have to worry about my future because God would lead me wherever I need to go."

"Yes." Mom said gently. "Your life is in God's hands. That's a wonderful thing. Even though it hurts sometimes when our plan doesn't match up with God's, he has a reason for everything he does."

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