I love football season! As a guy with love handles, I get inspired by the physical phenoms who take the field after spending the off season putting their blood, sweat and tears into physical preparation. As physically tough as these guys are, it’s not their physically prowess that impresses me the most…it’s the mental toughness of the men who are willing to “play hurt”. They fight through pain and injury and keep their eyes on the prize and find the strength to overcome the pain. For me, those are the true champions.
As I read the Bible, I see many examples of Heroes of the Faith who had to “play hurt” as well. The Apostle Paul was one of the most effective leaders in the history of the church, but for most of his life and ministry, he was living with physical, mental and emotional pain. He endured beatings, imprisonment, abandonment, ship wreck, betrayal, illness and countless injuries and disappointments. Through it all, he found strength in keeping his eyes on Jesus, “the author and perfector of our faith,” and by saying, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Maybe you are in a season right now where you are playing hurt. Whether your injuries are physical, financial, mental or relational, you need to know that God has a plan for you. Hold tight to His promises. He has promised never to leave you or forsake you. He has promised to bring good out of every situation. He has promised that your pain will ultimately bring about greater faith and perseverance in your life. He has promised that in Christ, all pain is temporary! One day, you will cross that finish line and receive a hero’s welcome into Heaven. God is with you every step of the way, so don’t give up!