It is a strange paradox, but some of the things we enjoy the least we need the most. Coaches are a great example. The college basketball teams which will play in tonight’s NCAA Division I Tournament championship game may be from different parts of the country. They may have different styles of play. They may have different strengths and weaknesses. But they share in common coaches who are committed to winning.

Every athlete appreciates a coach who loves to win, but few appreciate (at least initially) the rigors necessary to prepare and qualify for victory. My high school basketball coach would sit inside his car and force the team to push the vehicle uphill . . . while he applied the brakes. He knew by our groans and sighs that we hated to see those red brake lights come on. (That was only the beginning of our sorrows. Coach eventually figured out that the brake lights didn’t come on when he engaged the emergency parking brake. I believe he applied the emergency brake just to make us mad — and it worked.)

As painful as our practices were, we were all in such excellent physical shape that we plowed through the competition. Like the winner of tonight’s game will do, we looked back with gratitude upon Coach and the madness that came before March.

Without coaches in life, we would have no victory. We need to be stretched and pushed and challenged, or we will experience no growth — physical or spiritual. Every trial you endure, every hardship you encounter, and every painful situation you experience accomplishes this end.

You may have been crushed after facing yet another defeat. Your emotional muscles are tired, and you feel you cannot take another step forward. When you try to press ahead, it seems like God has His foot on the brake pedal, hindering your progress. Don’t quit, Christian. Your Coach is molding you into a winner. Stay the course, for victory lies ahead.


Learn how to press on when the going gets tough in Dr. Scudder’s latest book, Finish Strong.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.