Toughen Up

Last week I wrote about my experiences coaching two wrestling classes during Friday School: one class consisted of older kids (mostly teenagers) and the other class consisted of younger kids (Davin Cooper, Brooks Ordway, my sons Ricky and Johnny, etc.). I had to accept the fact that coaching – and I’m using that term loosely – the younger boys mostly consisted of me watching them run at each other, run away from each other, jump in the air, kick each other, climb on the pews, climb on each other, yell, cry, roll around with no concern whatsoever for whether they’re on their backs, etc. Basically, it looked way more like WWF than wrestling, and please don’t tell me WWF is wrestling. It was bad enough this past week having to put up with Landon Cooper, Joe Garrett and Ruth Zumstein trying to convince me that fishing is a sport. Although considering sailing, trampoline and dressage (aka horse ballet) are Olympic sports maybe fishing will be added too giving their arguments credibility.

Anyway, if you listen to me coach the younger boys it sounds like, “Stop…don’t…watch out…be careful…no you can’t do that…let go of his hair…don’t put your finger in his eye…don’t jump off the pew on him…yes, I know Johnny bit you which is why I told you to stay away from him.” One week I had so many boys hurt and crying that I sat them all down and said, “I know wrestling hurts sometimes, but wrestling is like riding a bike: if you ride a bike, sometimes you’re going to fall and get hurt. The only way to make sure you don’t get hurt is to not get on a bike, and the only way to make sure you don’t get bit is to not wrestle Johnny.” I came home and told Katie all this and she said two words to me: “That’s ministry.” I said, “You’ve been bit in ministry?” Just kidding, but…

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he prepared the young pastor for ministry by repeatedly telling him about the suffering he personally experienced while encouraging Timothy to expect the same (1:8, 12, 2:3, 9, 4:5). While Timothy was a pastor, the reality is if you’re going to serve the Lord in any capacity – not just in the church, but in your workplace, neighborhood, school, home, etc. – you’re going to be hurt sometimes. The only way to make sure you never get hurt is to never serve God. When the kids would get hurt in wrestling, I would offer them some encouragement that I preach to myself sometimes and would share with others as well: “This is actually good for you; it’s toughening you up!”


3 thoughts on “Toughen Up

  1. Pingback: Jesus versus Benny Hinn | Scott LaPierre
  2. Scott, Ha! Enjoying your comments about the fun of being coach and Dad. Isn’t it true that the bruises and trials of life really do toughen us up? God is working out a plan and story with our lives that has Him as the theme. Great works our Father is doing … and always full of surprises and miracles. I am learning to thank God for the all the blessings, and even the difficulties.

    1. Thanks Joe! Well said about the sanctifying work God does in our lives through everything He brings our way. Probably the only way to count the trials as joy is to consider the good God is bringing about through them.

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