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No Way Out

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, September 15.

By Andrew McChesney


ports was Baiba’s passion. She gave everything for sports. She especially loved to play basketball, and she loved her coaches. Every time she participated in a match, she gave anything in hope of winning.

But when Baiba was preparing for baptism, she realized that she had to stop playing basketball. Many matches were scheduled on the Sabbath, and she wanted to honor God by keeping the Sabbath.

The 16-year-old girl faced a daunting task in her native Latvia.

Sports had been her life.

Now she needed to break the news to her coaches. It threatened to be painful. The coaches had been like parents to her, and they had invested much energy in training her.

She also would have to tell her teammates. She was not only part of the basketball team but also was the team captain. She understood that without her participation, the team would face big challenges on the basketball court.

Baiba prayed, “God, how will I tell them?”

There didn’t seem to be any way out.

The teenage girl decided to play in one last match on the Sabbath.

At halftime of the match, Baiba found herself alone in the locker room. Her conscience was bothering her, and she fell on her knees.

“God, please do something,” she prayed. “I don’t want to play basketball anymore on the Sabbath. I want to follow You. But I don’t know how to tell my coaches. It will be so painful for them. But I promise you that this will be my very last Sabbath game.”

There didn’t seem to be any way out.

After the prayer, Baiba didn’t feel well. The coaches examined her and found that her blood pressure was exceedingly high at 200. Baiba was hospitalized.

After running a series of tests, a physician came to Baiba with startling news.

“You were born with only one kidney,” he told her. “You cannot play basketball anymore.”

Baiba couldn’t believe her ears. God had provided a way out. She wasn’t thrilled about having only one kidney. But now she could easily explain to her coaches and teammates why she had to quit basketball.

She broke the news to her coaches and teammates. They were sympathetic. They understood.

Baiba was glad that God had provided a way out, but she felt sad saying good-bye to sports. Sports had been her whole life.

Then she remembered that she had something better than sports. She had Jesus.

She prayed, “Jesus, please give me something new in my life because I cannot play sports anymore.”

Shortly after the prayer, a friend gave her a guitar to play. Baiba had never played the guitar before, and she practiced a few chords. It wasn’t too hard. After only one day of learning, she was able to play simple songs on her own. She was so excited! Jesus had blessed her with a gift of music.

Today, Baiba is 42 and still plays the guitar. While she no longer plays basketball, she has learned that she still can participate in other sports.

“Having one kidney didn’t end my sports life,” she says with a big smile. “I still can go skiing and do other sports.”

This quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will provide an opportunity for people in Latvia to play sports in a Christ-centered context. Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help construct a building in Latvia’s capital, Riga, that will serve as a center of influence where families can engage in sports and participate in a health club. Thank you for planning a generous offering.