My Strength, My Hope – Mark Appel

August 4, 2016

About a month ago, I was put on the DL for a shoulder strain. While I was rehabbing my shoulder, my elbow began to lock up. This wasn’t the first time it has happened; when you make baseball your career, you’re going to experience wear and tear. But the symptoms had been happening more frequently in the previous few weeks so I knew I had to do something about it. After the MRI’s and X-rays, my coaches and I made the decision that I’d have surgery to remove the bone spurs so that I could be ready for next season. But it meant I would miss the rest of this season.


I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel once I made the decision to end my season, but leading up to the surgery I had an overwhelming sense of peace. I knew that this situation was out of my control, and although I was disappointed to miss the rest of this season with my team, I knew that God is in control.


A constant lesson that I’ve been learning this year is patience. Experiencing these injuries and going through the rehab necessary to overcome them has created many opportunities for me to practice patience. I want to be able to pitch right now, to work out right now, and to be with my teammates right now. But right now I need to rest in the Lord, knowing that this is all part of His plan, His healing process. I know that this is not a step backward, it’s just another step in the direction of doing what I love, and have been called, to do: Play ball.


Before my surgery, I was able to go back home to my family and friends in Houston to let them know what was going on before it was made public. Once again I was amazed at the community that God has blessed me with there. My family, friends, and church community were all there for me; listening to me, encouraging me, and praying with me in this season of my career. Being able to speak to them face to face and share my heart with them was really special; knowing that they are praying for me is a huge encouragement to me.


My teammates also responded in love. I let them know what was going on before the Phillies announced the surgery and when they heard, they received it with grace and compassion. They made sure to let me know that they are excited to have me help them even more next year after this surgery. Their positivity and encouragement has motivated me to be optimistic as well.


Sometimes the struggles you face can actually turn out to be an incredible blessing. It’s at times like these that I realize just how many great people God has placed into my life to genuinely care for me. I know now more than ever, that Christ is my strength and my hope in both the hard times and the good.


“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” —2 Corinthians 12:9-10


—Mark Appel


Mark Appel is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.


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