Do you ever sit in the stands and really listen to the fans around you? It's one of the first things I was taught as a young baseball girlfriend watching my boyfriend play for the first time in professional baseball. "DO NOT LISTEN TO THE FANS TAUNTING YOUR MAN. IGNORE THEM!" We were in a minor league stadium where you could hear a pin drop. There were maybe 25 fans, half of which were in some way related to the men on the field. That's when I heard it ever so clearly. "You suck!" My first instinct was to turn around and see who was saying those hurtful words about the man I loved and knew worked so hard to be playing at that level. My second thought was "aren't you a fan?" I was horrified and hurt at the same time. It is so hard to take that advice when it's your own man being attacked.
Now we are married and I have sat through thousands more games and heard those same hurtful words, among other words that are far less kind. I have learned to "let them roll off my back" or move seats to avoid hearing them. I have been the one to tell other young women cheering on their men the same advice I was given. Yet here I am writing this, because I needed the reminder, even all these years later.
I was sitting at a game with a fellow baseball wife and another player's sister in the "family of players only" section. Talk about a target on your back. By the 3rd inning we were being taunted, mocked, and called names by the "fans" of our men. The same "fans" began the usual taunting of the players as well, but it took on a more personal attack by the 5th inning. Four. More. Innings. It took a lot of self control and patience to not open our mouths and fight back to these people. We felt hurt and anger and annoyed all at the same time. We wanted to defend ourselves and our men, but we knew if we did that we would cause trouble and represent our men on the team in a very poor way. After all, we had a sign on our seats that said "family of players only." Everyone knew who we were.
I woke up the next morning to start my daily reading plan in my Bible. Before I got settled in my quiet place I skimmed through social media and saw two posts. The first one was from the other wife I was with at the game the night before. Her reading was from Luke 6:27-28 and Exodus 14:14. "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." "The Lord will fight for you. You need only be still." The second post I saw was from "Women of Faith" and again saw Exodus 14:14 staring back at me. I quickly thanked God for the reminder and asked for His forgiveness for the way I felt toward those people who had taunted us the night before. Then I prayed over my reading that it would speak to me and that I would hear what God has for me loud and clear.
Well, God was loud and clear when I opened up my Bible to Psalm 3. "But you, O Lord, are a shield around me" (Psalm 3:3), "I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side" (Psalm 3:6), "Victory comes from you, O Lord" (Psalm 3:8).
As I prayed over these scriptures that God had put in front of my eyes this morning I began to think about what being a Christian must feel like in a world and time that persecutes them worse than they do in the United States. When we are labeled as a "Baseball WAG" we become a target for taunting and teasing from fans. When we are labeled as a Christian we face the same. Christians have always had a target on their back, just read the Bible! Are we to fight back and allow anger and hate to enter our hearts? Things that only come from the enemy. Or are we to allow God to fight for us, stay still, and trust that He will become a shield around us. God blesses His people. God watches over us while we sleep (Psalm 3:5). If we allow God to be what people see in us then surely the Victory will be all His.
So the next time you are sitting at a game and you hear the infamous "you suck!" or any other hurtful things directed at you or your man, I want to challenge you to simply be still. I want to remind you that not only do you represent your man but you represent someone far more important: God. The way we react to our enemies is a direct reflection of who God is and how He has changed you as a Christian who follows Him. The way we can best win a victory over those who hate us and taunt us for just being who we are is to allow God to fight for us.