I have spent most of my life standing on the sidelines of a sports event: football, wrestling, track, basketball, cross country, soccer, baseball. Whatever the event, I have stood cheering for my home team, encouraging them to play their best and leave it all out there.
One of the hardest things about being on a team are the times when the coach decides to have the player sit out and “warm the bench.” It is discouraging to the players who want to participate in their favorite sports and help bring a victory to their team. I have watched players who are so excited at the beginning, yet with one action of the coach or even a teammate, their spirits are squashed.
As a believer there are times when God calls us over and says to take a seat on the bench. We tend to wonder what we have done wrong, analyzing our last actions, trying to figure out why God doesn’t want us to participate. In reality, we may be called to sit out a play or two because there are others who are gifted in one area or another and it is their time to shine.
When God decides to bench us, it is for a greater purpose. We may be needing rest and restoration because we have been on the field and God is giving us time to recover before our next time to run out and join our teammates.
God may also be calling us to the bench because He has need to correct our focus and redirect our attention to the goal. We have all watched sports events when the coach calls players over to help them reset their purpose. Our Heavenly Father is the ultimate coach, striving to grow us and stretch us to become who we were created to be (Hebrews 12:5-11).
Dear Ones, may we remember that when we are benched it is not to be for the rest of the game. We are to sit on the bench to receive rest, instruction, redirection, and correction so we can go back on the field to serve with purpose (Philippians 3:12, 14).