christian basketball story, Christian encouragement, David and Goliath, End Times, Gideon, Goliath, Jesus Is Coming, Jesus' Return, King David, Last Days, last of the last days, Spiritual Warfare, the return of Christ, word of exhortation
The crowd fell silent. Incessant cheers ceased in an instant. All laughter and applause hushed in a moment. No one spoke. No one moved. Shock enveloped the stadium while the scoreboard of the championship game glowed large and ominous above with a grim foreboding.
The coach was already on the court, standing protectively over the injured player lying on the hard, glossy floor. The young player shook his head in disagreement with the doctor and coach’s assessment, and attempted to stand but winced in pain and fell back into a heap. The youth kept apologizing over and over that he’d gotten injured with two minutes left in the game. It was then that the coach reassuringly placed his hand upon the youth’s shoulder, and intently held his gaze. Though no one could hear the words, it was as if the coach were telling the young man it was okay to leave the game. In fact, it was time.
The crowd remained motionless as the last of the five star players was lifted from the floor and escorted from the basketball court. Two others had fouled out. Another had been injured. One was out with a technical foul. Not only this, but several other players besides them who could have replaced some of them were out with the flu. The game was tied. Two minutes remained. A strange hush had fallen, and even the fans of the opposing team remained silent, wondering what would happen next.
The coach, strong and tall, turned silently unfazed toward the bench, his eyes surveying the five players still seated there. Though many thought of them as the “B” team or junior varsity players, a short group of scrappy misfits, he smiled as he approached them. Stopping directly in front of them he said four words.
“It’s your turn now.”
Each of the five players froze, then slowly turned to look at one another, blinking in disbelief. Had they heard him correctly? This was no ordinary game. This was the championship. Who were they to enter this game? What could they do? The other team compared to them was tall, well-built and had played in game after game after game thus preparing them for this moment. But, the reserves were stocky and some spindly, and though they had never missed a practice, had no real game experience. In shock that they were being called upon in this strategic, massively important moment in time, they remained motionless.
But the coach did not allow for such timidity to restrain them longer than a second, but called to them to join him in the huddle beside the bench.
“Get up!” The coach said firmly.
Without further hesitation all rose quickly and gathered around him, but as they did so, the fans of the other team realizing that only the reserves were left, sprang to life and began to jeer. Even the other team’s cheerleaders started a chant about how much better their team was compared to the reserves on the other side.
But the reserves were deaf to the jeers and chants, and all the cheering of the fans energized them and stirred their souls to action not withdrawal. All they could hear was their coach’s steady, confident voice, and they listened intently to his words. They knew how high the stakes were. They knew the entire game rested on their shoulders now. They knew this was it, and that all those practices would mean something now. Their coach needed them, and they would answer that call.
“Go Team!” was shouted by them at the top of their lungs, and they spilled onto the floor, ready for action. They would play for all they were worth. They would not let their coach or team down. Indeed, it was their time – the time of the reserves! And in one accord as if fueled by the very hope that arose in the souls of those five misfits, the crowd began to roar.
This is where we are right now in history, in the last of the last days. It appears that many spiritual leaders have died or are dying or ill, leaders that really knew how to lead, how to expose evil and how to do battle with the enemy, men and women like Dave Hunt, Carole Matriciana, and Chuck Missler died in the last few years; Russ and Shelly Dizdar, Marcus Lamb, Bill Randles, Doug Riggs, and Carman (and I’m sure you could name others) all recently passed in the course of a year’s time (from February 2021-February 2022).
Like in the days of Gideon and David, there appeared to be no one to carry the team on to victory. But, God who looks on the heart and not the outward appearance, saw Gideon who was the least in his family and was apart of the weakest tribe in Israel who was threshing wheat in a wine press, and sent His angel to call him from the bench into the game. God also saw David, the youngest of his family, who though inexperienced in war, had done battle with the bear and the lion and whose faith in God was greater than his fear, and called him from the bench to face Goliath on the battlefield – such as no other battle hardened man in Israel would do at the time. These were scrappy misfits, unlikely choices to carry team Israel to victory – But God! God was with them. God chose them. God anointed them. God empowered them. God emboldened them. God was not put off by their family lineage nor their outward appearance, because he saw their hearts that were soft toward Him. He saw their faith.
Even so, today, though many have been lost to us here recently, such as many pastors and spiritual leaders, even our mothers and fathers or spouse, God is calling us to “Get Up” off of the bench and get in the game. The others have done their part. They played their game. They ran their race. They crossed their finish line. But, we are still here. We are the reserves. Indeed, we have been reserved for such a time as this.
So, quit questioning God, and get up off the bench. It’s time to quit giving in to the enemy’s tactics whatever they may be (depression, anxiety, despair, anger, negativity, fear, excuses, running from responsibility, listening to lies, etc). You are being called into the game NOW. You are needed in the battle NOW. What is happening in the world will not simply pass. The deception in the Church will not simply go away. Great evil is on the rise, and the darkness is growing. Every second counts.
Come on, my fellow misfits!!! Get up, reserves!!! Jesus is coming soon! Let’s be ready!
Holy Light Ministries