My family has always been one to love sports. We’ve got people into hockey, baseball; others into basketball, football. No matter what the sport is, everyone in my clan enjoys it. While sports may seem a little far-fetched for me to write about—since I don’t play any except disc golf (which for the record, is the best thing since sliced bread)—I feel the need to make a sports analogy for one reason: people get it. Nearly everyone you encounter will understand sports in some way or another. If you don’t agree, let’s go over a simple checklist to make sure you will understand my analogy.
- Do you know what a team is?
- Do you know what a coach is?
- Do you have knowledge of basic sporty moves such as passing, defense, offense, blocking, ?
You got all of that? Good, great, perfect; you’ll understand this analogy better than anyone else.
God is hard to understand sometimes. Amiright? He’s mysterious in His ways and doesn’t always make things clear to us—which is kind of cool if you think about it. It’s not that we have to spend a ton of time trying to uncover the mystery, but it’s the fact that He can keep parts of Himself unknown and yet He still captivate us. Nonetheless, God isn’t always the easiest to make tangible.
Someone recently gave me a sports analogy that made God tangible and changed my mindset, so I want to expand on it a bit.
Think about a sports team for a sec. Imagine yourself as one of the players. Now think about your coach. There’s this rule in sports that coaches must stay behind the lines—off the field. However, there is one exception to this rule: when a player gets injured. The only time your coach can come onto the field to assist you in any way is if you get injured. I think a lot of times, this is how we view God. He’s the big man calling all the shots and throwing us into the game we call life. We believe that He knows what He is doing and His plays will be the right call. But if the defense is stronger than we are and we get knocked down and hurt, then and only then will God come to our side. What is wrong with this view is that God leaves our side. After we break from the timeout or from the huddle, our coach leaves our side. The great and amazing thing about God is that He never leaves our side. God is with you in the hard times; He is will you in the good times.
God isn’t the coach, he’s the team captain. He’s still calling the shots, but he is also on the field. He’s passing us the ball, He’s blocking people from us, He’s running alongside us, helping us score, giving us an assist. He doesn’t just say what is going to happen and then walk away hoping it all plays out right, like a coach would. He’s getting in the mess of things with you, going into the triumphs of winning, and into the devastation of a loss. He’s taking a knee when you get injured, and he’s cheering you on as a you run towards the winning point. It’s not easy to think this way because sometimes we lose sight of where God is. He doesn’t feel right next to us all the time. He doesn’t seem to be on our side. I know there are plenty of times when I felt like God had abandoned me, especially when my battle with alcohol got worse and worse. When things were stripped from me, people were changing, events happened in life. It felt like God was a million miles away.
But it’s when God feels immensely far away that He’s working the hardest.
I mean take David, from 1 Samuel, for a minute. After David strikes down Goliath, Abner introduces David to King Saul. David becomes good friends with Jonathan, and you think great! This is going to be a start of something awesome! And then Abner, the army commander, follows through with Saul’s orders and fights against David. Now we’ve got this weird thing going on where David and Jonathan are close but Saul wants David dead. Abner just happens to be fighting for the wrong team and David feels like God is far away at times. Yet, by the time we get to 2 Samuel chapter 22, we get David’s song of praise. In verse 3 we hear David refer to God as his “rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.” Hmmm, shield. Defense. Sports teams. And now we’re back to my analogy.
Just like David we can feel far away from God at times. I think that is just a normal thing that happens with being a Christian. There are waxes and wanes of God’s presence. But we cannot forget those times where, overall, God is our shield. He’s our protector, the one going before us tackling some dudes so we can run the ball forward. We wouldn’t have that access or hope if God was merely on the sidelines just staring at us. He wants to be in the game. He wants to walk with us. It’s not that He simply can and does. It’s that he desires to—another thing that makes God pretty cool.
No matter where you are at in life, it’s always better to have God be a player in your game, not simply the coach. Because the only way your coach is coming to your side, is if you get injured. Wouldn’t you love to have someone what will be there regardless of your physical state in the game? Well it’s possible—It’s God. And he wants to get in the game. So why don’t you let him?