February 9, 2024
Download MP3 (right click to save)
Back when my son and his friends were going into their sophomore year in high school playing football, they moved up to the junior varsity and the varsity team. And they got word that they were going to have triple sessions in August and September practices. That's exciting... triple sessions meant that you get to go, not for the regular two-hour practice of calisthenics, and running, and working hard, and running into things, and running into each other. No, you get to go for four hours. Hey, you guessed it: not even four... you get to go for six wonderful hours of that!
Twelve different times before the season starts - triple sessions. And you should have heard them when they talked about it, or actually, you should have seen them. Their eyes kind of rolled back in their head, and their mouths drooped, and their shoulders sagged, and they'd go, "Triple sessions!" Well, the coach knew he had an inexperienced crop coming up, and he was the coach who got used to winning. So, he put them through some very demanding training. Of course, that's the price you pay to be a winner. They were state champs!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why the Coach is Working You So Hard."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Romans 5 - it's about God's training program; He, of course, being the head coach. And verses 3 and 4 tell us this, starting out with a kind of curious phrase, "We also rejoice in our sufferings." Have you been doing that recently? Rejoicing? Well, that's really great that we're going through this hard time, isn't it? Well, Paul says, "We rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope."
Well, there's that phrase, "rejoicing in our suffering." How can a football player rejoice in triple session workouts? How can he rejoice in them? Well, he knows if he thinks about it that this extra practice is making him stronger, he's getting more endurance, he's getting experience that will give him the edge when he gets in the game. He'll be a fourth-quarter player. He's ending up having "hope" as Paul says here. His hope is that he's going to win.
We're going to have a winning season. We might walk off with the championship. I might have something special on the back of my jacket all year and for the rest of my high school career. See, his hope comes from the fact that he knows he's getting strong enough to win, and he won't get strong enough to win without double and triple sessions. He may hate the process; he's going to love the outcome.
Now, notice in these verses how God gives us hope in the middle of our hard times. It might be hope that you need right now because there's a lot of pain and stress that you're experiencing. Maybe you've almost lost hope. Notice it says that suffering produces perseverance. Or some translations say "patience." In other words, by making it through hard times, you develop the ability to hang in there even when it hurts like that football player hurting all over. To wait for God's timing to say, "You know, I don't have to have an answer or relief right now." And that patience converts into character Paul says. Or another translation says "experience." You can look back and say, "You know, I've made it through something like this, and now I know I can do it."
There's a confidence that comes from making it through something very, very hard. You can say, "I know I can do this with God's help. I know I can, because I've been here before." And the big things, the daunting things, the scary things don't look as big and daunting and scary any more. But see, people who have never handled anything tough, well, they're the ones who leave practice when it starts to hurt. They run from their problems instead of confronting them. Sometimes that's even why people think about ending their own life, because they've not handled the tough stuff, and they just want the pain to stop.
Listen, stay in the ring. You're building experience and that's what gives hope in suffering. There's no way to develop this kind of strength, this kind of toughness, this kind of durability without suffering first. If the coach has scheduled a triple session for you right now, don't despair. Don't give up. Don't quit. Let suffering develop patience, let patience develop experience, let experience develop hope.
Triple sessions build winners.