Sometime in 1995:

Jesus shared this story with me. I do not remember through whom, but I remember this analogy because it makes so much sense out of my life.

A young man wanted to join the basketball team at his high school. He approached the coach, and having a lot of self-confidence, triumphantly announced his decision to join the team.

The coach looked at him and said, "Give me 40 wind sprints up and down the court, and then come back." The young man protested, and reminded the coach that he was joining the basketball team, not the track team. The coach replied, "I'm the coach of both, and I remember the difference. If you argue one more time with me, there is no place on the team for you. Now, give me those 40 wind sprints."

The young man backed off and complied. He came back to the coach, and, panting, announced he was done.

The coach replied, "Give me another 40, and no lip this time." Astounded, the young man considered leaving, but decided to comply anyways. It made no sense to him, but he grudgingly did another 40 wind sprints.

This time he approached the coach, breathing heavily, barely able to speak. "Good" the coach said, "now shoot me some free throws." That did it, the young man, between breathes that did not come so easily said, "Coach, if you wanted me to throw free throws, why didn't you let me do that 30 minutes ago? I would have done great for you then!"

Despite his outburst, the coach answered, "I don't care how well you can shoot free throws at the start of the game. I want to know how well you can shoot them late in the fourth quarter."

The young man went to the foul line with a big smile on his face. He knew he was about to be mentored by a great coach.

Only in hindsight can the young man understand what the coach is doing. Just like my life! Only I am not so young anymore so I can't use that excuse!

How many times are we the young man in this story, arguing with the coach, trying to tell the coach how the coach should coach? Hey, is that a guilty squirm in your chair? <grin> Don't worry. The coach knows you will grow up, and is waiting for you to be ready to do what you need to do, so He can tell you to step up to the foul line.