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When A Slither of Hope Remains

The word slither can be used to describe a small slice of something. If you have ever found yourself caught on a bush full of thorns or you accidently brush up against a small fiber, slithers can inflict pain. Depending upon how deep these slithers penetrate your skin, blood and scars reveal the size of this object. Whenever you endure a series of defeats, failures or losses in life, hope can shrink like a tiny slither, difficult to see.

Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully, 1 Peter 5:6-7.

In my final season of coaching Majors, baseball players age 10-12, I lost a majority of my team from the prior season. Thus, I was forced to alter my expectations before the season began with a young team without much talent. To make matters worse, my best pitcher broke his arm on opening day. With my only leader in a cast for most of the season, the losses began to pile up. Moral victories took on a new meaning when my team got to play a full six innings instead of losing by the mercy rule.

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

Whether you’re a coach, individual or parent, defeat can take a toll on fragile souls. The more you experience failure, the concept of success and victory often disappears, fading from your memory. Thus, as a spirit of defeat settles in like a stationary front that stalls over you, you must press on. In this rainy season, hopeful hearts must persevere as negativity reigns. When only a slither of hope remains, cry out to Jesus while there is time left to alter an outcome.

by Jay Mankus

Upset: Dejection or Motivation?

When individuals do not experience a desired outcome, a wave of emotions come forth. As reality sets in, the finality of failure can be unsettling. In the context of sports, when the better team on paper with more talent loses, this is considered an upset. When players walk off a court or field staring defeat in the face, there are two logical options: dejection or motivation.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

Like any grieving process, souls initially become dejected. Depression, despair and unhappiness are like bumps in the road toward healing. However, if you don’t experience a moral victory or taste success soon, hearts can become heavy. Glimmers of hope are like rays of sunshine to help people realize that they are going to make it through another storm.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” Matthew 19:26.

Anyone who hates to lose will find some sort of motivation to avoid a similar fate. After getting cut from his high school basketball team, Michael Jordan went on to earn a college scholarship, make the NBA and become one of the greatest players of all time. Instead of dwelling on self pity fueled by dejection, motivation can bring you out of desolation. Like Jesus said while talking to his disciples, “anything is possible with God.”

by Jay Mankus

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