On April twenty-ninth Evan showed me something that I had been denying. He showed me that I was running from my hurt. Instead of facing the fact that I was done playing soccer I was building this wall up so that I did not have to deal with it. I used to tell him all about soccer, he knows for a fact that the World Cup is this year because I will not let him forget it, but since my last game I have not said a word about soccer. I was trying to fill this empty spot in my heart with things that would not fill it.
He mentioned Jonah and how he ran from God. His words to me were, “Jonah ran, just like you are, and ended up in a fish’s belly. Do you really think you will end up any different if you keep running? Open your eyes.”
After he said that I went blank. The rest of the day all I could think about was the fact that I was running, but I did not want to face my hurt. I had finally quit crying everyday and I did not want to have to deal with all the emotions again, but I needed to stop running.
That night I wrote, “Lord I pray you would allow me to see you. I pray you would allow me to see that you are in control. I do not fully trust you. I am angry at you for not allowing me to finish playing. I am bitter and angry to the point I can’t even speak about soccer without getting mad. I don’t want to be hurt anymore. I want to have peace. I want to be able to sit at a game and not feel numb. I want to be able to talk about soccer without getting mad. I want to be more than just a player. I want to be used within the sport but I can’t do that until I let go of my anger and bitterness. I pray you would open my eyes and allow me to see your hand in this chaos. I pray I will grow to trust you even more during this time. Amen.”
That night I felt this sudden rush of freedom. Freedom from anger and freedom from bitterness. The next day the new head coach sent out a message, and for once I was okay with telling someone I would not be returning. I have hid my anger from people since my injury, but this time I did not feel angry.
On May fourth my devotion was titled, “Four Hundred Years Later” and it said, “At the close of Malachi Israel is back in Palestine after Babylonian captivity but are under domination of Persia and Medeo. And by the time Matthew begins, Israel is under Roman rule. At the end of the four hundred years people had grown tired of pagan faiths and were weary of the world in general. There was an air of expectancy as people began to wait and hope for the promised Messiah. All of these thugs worked just right to create a world that was hungry and desperate for a change, a world that sensed its darkness and hopelessness. And when the time was just right, God sent His Sin to earth as a baby boy.”
All hope was lost but then God showed up.
You see, God is never silent. He is always working and weaving together plans and purposes for you and for me. I thought I was going to be angry and not be able to speak of soccer again, but then God showed up. Almost three years ago He placed someone in my life knowing that he would say the words he said to me that day. He placed someone in my life who continuously encourages me and points me back to Him when I am lost. Someone who tells me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. Someone who loves me at my lowest points and my highest points. Someone who reminds me just how big God is.
So, if you are like me and you feel like all hope is lost and you don’t know what to do, just look up to Him. His purposes never end. He A L W A Y S has a plan and He is always on time. He N E V E R changes. Even in this season, when you feel lost and unsure, He is putting the pieces together exactly the way He meant for them to be. And the best part is that you can be effective right where you are.