I’m a football fan. I played football when I was little and started JV the first two years in high school and started Varsity as a junior and senior. I was what I’d describe as an average player. I was surrounded by guys that were extremely talented though, many of which were truly great. Playing with them was a blast to say the least. We won a lot in High School. But only because of perseverance and tremendous effort.
When I was a younger pup, I went out for all the sports as a junior high student. Football, Basketball, Track, etc. As a junior high school kid our team never won any of those sports. Ever. My class specifically, never won a single football game. We never achieved any kind of victory in basketball. Our track team never won a single meet. Not one.
We came back and hit the weights hard, which was mostly unheard of at that time in small town Iowa sports. We got bigger, faster, and stronger. I’m trying to form in your minds a picture of scrawny kids that blossom into beasts of burden. If I’ve successfully done that for you, let me instead give you the reality. Yes, we did improve in physical fashion. Building up our bodies helped give us an edge over the competition and that was a small part of the catalyst that turned us into winners all four years in high school. But… What we really built was character in ourselves and one another. We transformed from not winning ever, to winning a lot.
I look around see the NFL players in a misguided attempt at showing solidarity. I see division. I notice the news and media salivating to hand us something we’ll buy, since they know we know they’re phonies on any other day for any other subject. Then I run across a story like the one below. The Iowa Hawkeyes and their new first quarter tradition of stopping to wave to the children and families in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is one of character, and I love it.
I’ve spent more than my fair share of time in that hospital complex. My best friend’s daughter, Mira, was a patient there. They saved her life and worked to provide her with quality of life for the days she had left. Her body was overtaken eventually by tumors that started in her brain, but her spirit is among us forever as she walks beside the Lord now. Being part of something as emotional and compelling as a near death experience, a recovery, and an eventual passing changes you. You begin looking for character in those around you. Why? Because character is present in the basis for true love. …The kind of love Jesus has for us.
I’m supremely disappointed in the NFL and their lack of moral consensus. Yet, I’m reminded there are others in football circles who drop what they’re doing to think about others and make someone less fortunate the beneficiary of a loving gesture.
What kind of love did Jesus have for us that he offered himself to be crucified? What kind of love did God have that he gave his son over for us? What kind of love do you have for God, for Jesus, and others you don’t even know and may never meet?
When I watch that video, and I’ve watched it over and over and over, I feel warm with love. I’ve been in those halls. I’ve been on the top of the building and viewed that field. My wife and I were close to losing both our children while in the hospital. Those fears along with those comforts come flooding back when I watch.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
So when you and I are stressed and we feel as if we’re surrounded by senseless and awful things, we also know that while broken we’re capable of fantastic character. That same character translates into our capacity to love. Please friends, please, please, please. Love much.
God bless you all.