One of my favourite football players was victim to a silly spikes-up lunge from an opponent a couple of days ago. He had picked the ball clean. With the first replay, you knew he had to be feeling the pain, lots of it! His immediate reaction was to try and walk. That did not work. With a bit of physio treatment, he tried to carry on. For a few minutes, his resolute work ethic, commitment to compete regardless of pain or injury provided a limited buffer to what is beyond my imagination. By the 38th minute of the game, all cameras focused on him. He stood silently on his knees, unable to bear the pain of carrying any weight on his injured foot. The medical verdict is still pending.
When I am hit, my natural reaction is to follow this lead. I find myself echoing words from past and present. “When Edom (Esau) said, 'We've been knocked down, but we'll get up and start over, good as new,' God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, 'Just try it and see how far you get. When I knock you down, you stay down. People will take one look at you and say, 'Land of Evil!' and 'the God-cursed tribe!''” (Malachi 1.4) Reality bites.
Not everything in life is on the extremes. We are in something more than a football match. We are also not at the point of being without recreation potential. Bad things happen. They hurt far more deeply than we realize. Struggles and challenges haunt our lives. They take a far greater toll than we understand. Our distance from God is often an indication of how tightly we cling to our god of selfishness. The damage in this struggle is often life threatening.
In the end, the team helped and supported each other. We are never in this completely alone. Even beyond the family and friends, the occasional unknown angel, we have a God passionately involved and caring about the details of our lives. Divinity sees the damage and responds in the only way God knows how, with love.
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