There is a boy on my son’s basketball team who, you can tell, has played for years, even though he’s just nine. He’s tall and fast and has great control. His dad coaches the team, and what struck me the most during the last game was the way Cameron listened to his dad as he played. The coach would say slow down, and Cameron instantly, with absolute control, slowed down. His dad would tell him to pass and he would look for the open guy. When his father told him to take the ball to the basket, Cam looked for his opportunity and wove through the opponents to make a perfect lay-up. His dad wasn’t screaming or criticizing. He was calmly, encouragingly helping his son see what was happening — pointing out opportunities and teaching him the thought process so that later, when his dad isn’t there, he’ll know what to do on his own.
I’m sure, like all of us, Cameron has his times of not wanting to listen. But you wouldn’t know it to watch him play. Here’s the thing: in order for Cameron to be so good, he had to practice. A lot. He may have been given certain inherent abilities, but he hasn’t neglected them. He works at it. You can see it in the control he shows. He can dribble right-handed or left-handed. He can run with the ball or pass or shoot. But, when he’s on the court, at least, he trusts his dad. He knows he’ll lead him in the right direction, so he uses his abilities as he is told. He has an obedient spirit.
I thought, oh, if we could listen to our Heavenly Father like that. To trust that He can see the big picture. To remember that He wrote the playbook and He knows all about our opponents. He gave us talents, and we need to spend time honing our skills, but then, when it’s time, we have to be ready to go. We have to tune in to His voice and block out all the others who are screaming suggestions or criticism or simply trying to distract us. We need to walk proudly onto the court and say, OK, Daddy, I’m ready to play.