I hope this week's “Spot of Grace” finds you well. Last week we began a new series centered on the fact that God has been pursuing you every day of your life. Our much-loved key verse is found in Psalm 23. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)
When I consider the truth that God pursues us, I think about the ways that this happens. I believe one of the ways that God pursues is through trials. Let me share one of the most serious trials God has used to grow me.
As you may know, I love soccer. Ever since I can remember, I have loved to play soccer, watch soccer and talk about soccer. But soccer became too important in my life a few years ago. I knew it. God convicted me of it. But I didn't pull back.
I loved playing college soccer in Michigan. It was amazing to be part of a team of such great guys. My coach taught me so much, not just about the game but about being a man and being a Christian. But as I left college, soccer became more of a passion and a hobby. Soccer became an idol for me. God convicted me of this rivalry in my heart, but I continued trying to balance life and soccer.
My life was changing after I finished college. God was calling me into ministry. Others confirmed this calling and allowed me opportunities to serve and to grow. But the idol of soccer shouted for time and energy. Again, I tried to balance both worlds, wondering ... just wondering ... if I could have a career as a professional soccer player. God was leading me, but I wasn't sure I wanted to follow. That's when it happened.
God pursued me one April afternoon. I was playing soccer with a great travel team. We were scrimmaging a college team and beating them! I had already scored a couple of goals when Rob, an ex-pro player played a perfect ball through the defense right to my foot. As I made connection with the ball the goalkeeper made connection with my leg. It wasn't a dirty foul. He was going for the ball, but so was I. As I fell to the ground, pain gripped my leg. I looked down and clearly, my leg was broken. I'll spare you the details – but sufficient to say, as I laid on the ground and later as I laid in a hospital, I knew exactly why I was in this situation.
God had allowed this trial to call my attention to His plan and to convict me of my idolatry. It was nearly two years before I would be able to play again. In that time, God clarified His call. He pursued me and used my broken leg to remind me of my promise to live my life for Him and not for myself.