Athlete, Follow The Leader


Athlete, Follow The Leader

Dean Thornton

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭3‬:‭8‬ (‭NIV‬‬)

So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

I’m thankful that the Lord provided good coaches in my life throughout my athletic career. They helped teach, lead and gave me wisdom as I ran on the track along with my teammates, and gave us tools to also help us in life.

Believe me, there were definitely times that I questioned their leadership in my head, with some of the workouts that they had planned for us, team decisions, etc. In the moment, your body feels the pain from giving it your all during those practices and meets. You are left thinking, “Can my body really recover from this?” 

“Can I continue to put my trust in my coaches and trust that they know what they are doing?”

It got me to think about how God appointed Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and away from Pharaoh to safety. During that time, the Israelite people went through a wide range of emotions and questioned Moses’ leadership and even turned on him at times and tried to find their own leader.

Moses would then go to the Lord and ask for help, and the Lord would provide manna for food and water for the people. The Israelites would still groan and be unhappy and unthankful.

As a follower of Christ and as an athlete, I don’t want to act like the Israelites. When I was out there running, I was thankful for the opportunity to run, to be on a team, and I was thankful that God put in my life coaches who could truly lead and could give me wisdom when I needed it. 

At the start of the season, yes, I may not have been able to see the future and how things would turn out, but I trusted the coach’s vision because it was God’s vision. 

In today’s verse, the writer talks about God understanding the pain and the hardship of His people being enslaved, wanting to relieve them of it and bring them to the Promised Land.

God sees me in my life and in my athletic career, during the tough times, times where I’m asking those same questions – “Can I really get back up from what life has given me?” And He either shows me Himself what I need to do, or He provides someone who can come in and give me that wisdom and show me the way to the finish or goal line of life.

Dean Thornton is the writer and voice behind For My King His Kingdom podcast, a Christian podcast to encourage athletes who deal with mental health issues. For more episodes, check out Dean’s website and follow For My King His Kingdom on Apple Podcasts and Audible.

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