Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
But this precious treasure (Jesus Christ)—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in a perishable container, that is, in our weak bodies. Everyone can see that the glorious power within must be from God and is not our own.
We are hard pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit.
We are hunted down, but God never abandons us.
We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (The Living Bible)
As I sit here this morning reflecting on those words inspired by God and penned by the Apostle Paul, I can’t help but wonder if Paul wrote them with the world of sports anywhere on his radar screen—if he had that interest or associations at all. Never was there a verse more fitting for all the moments of ups and downs, highs and lows experienced within the world of sports, as those words from Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth.
My son and I are blessed with associations and a lifelong journey within the world of sports either as players, coaches, spectators and fans, or in walking with others in their professional, personal and spiritual journey within that setting. Just this past week and weekend we have had two dear friends within major college and professional venues experience heartbreaking disappointments, as two others embraced major celebrations of joy. And to a society which has elevated the world of sports to a level of interest impossible to imagine or fathom—it seems that the highs and lows are felt even more deeply. At least they are opined about by those in the business of opining—to such an extent that it seems so.
But the reason sports are such a passion in the hearts of most is that in the microcosm of a game we can often see the span of our lives with all of its joys and heartaches, successes and failures. In the course of a dropped touchdown pass to win a game—now lost—we relive too many moments of falling short and failure. Or while watching a basketball player, having missed his previous seven shots, shoot one more time and watch as the ball falls straight through the hoop to win the game—we remember those moments where we refused to quit, believing that the next best moment of our lives was just around the corner.
And here’s the best part of what Paul is telling us about those moments—especially of heartache and disappointment. It’s in the next verse, verse 10, of the passage above where Paul then writes:
“These bodies of ours are constantly facing death just as Jesus did;
so it is clear to all, that it is only the living Christ within [Who keeps us safe.]”
2 Corinthians 4: 10 (The Living Bible)
There it is. That’s the key. That’s what became so clear to Paul after he devoted his life to Christ, no matter all the stuff he went through and it was much and often. That key to facing and dealing with whatever was before him was the living Christ within Who keeps us safe.
Look guys, I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going through on any given day. I can’t imagine what passes you’ve dropped for a touchdown or shots you’ve missed to win the game. I can’t imagine how many times you’ve struck out—especially in these days of tougher economic times. But I do know—from personal experience and from the example of many of you—that no matter the ups and downs of our lives there is one place where we can always find the reason and example to go on.
There is one place where we will find the One who provides the steady and consistent energy, the right direction and eternal reason for getting up when we get knocked down and to not only get up but to keep going. It’s that one “safe place” of peace, comfort, warmth and assurance that will always be there for us, and will never leave or desert us. It’s that safe place of the living Christ where we will always—and for all eternity—be safe.
In the ups and downs of all our days—why not go to that “safe place” of Christ—Who will pick us up and send us back into all we face?
And when He does send us back—we go knowing that we will never again go alone!
In His Name—Scott