Trust: Even With A Broken Leg
For the last few weeks, I’ve been using the Spot of Grace to encourage you to consider the matter of trust. I have shared with you some of my stories that illustrate the lessons of trust the Lord has taught me. Through the story I want to share today, God totally changed the direction of my life.
If you know me at all, you know how much I love soccer. I love coaching, I love watching, and I love to play. As far back as I can remember, I had dreamed about making soccer my career. As a child, I dreamed of playing in front of crowds of people. I dreamed about scoring goals. I dreamed about being able to play all the time. So when I was offered a scholarship to play college soccer at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it was a dream come true.
As my college playing career was coming to an end I got more and more involved in playing year round and coaching soccer. I was also getting more involved in ministry. In my heart, the Lord was developing a call to youth ministry. My life was filled with two of the things I loved – soccer and ministry. I wanted to play soccer but I knew the Lord was calling me to ministry. I fought and fought against that call. I even tried to do both and figured I could find a compromise somewhere, somehow.
Two opportunities came my way in the spring of 1993. I was offered a youth ministry internship and also a position on a soccer travel team. That team was amazing. We even had former professional players on our team. So I felt a battle going on between my mind and heart. The Lord kept calling me to ministry and I wrestled to submit to that call. The Lord, in His infinitive wisdom, made the decision for me!
It was a warm April afternoon when the game started. I was looking forward to this game for months. We were playing against a college team. I very much wanted to play well, to beat this team, and hopefully even score. About midway through the first half, an ex-professional player on our team placed a perfect pass for me to run onto. It was me and the goalkeeper. I remember planting my left foot into the ball trying to shoot it past the keeper. But he was faster than I thought and we met the ball at the same time. As I kicked the ball I collided with him. We were both running as fast as we could. I remember falling head over heels and seeing right away that my leg was broken. I’ll spare you the details, but the sight of my leg hit me about half a second before I felt the pain. I was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. The doctor came to see me before he started the surgery and told me that it would be at least a year before I could play again.
In the following days as I recovered from my surgery, I knew exactly what had got me into this situation. It wasn’t my love of soccer or the speed of the goalkeeper. It was my stubborn heart resisting God’s call. In the hospital room one afternoon I did what I should have done when I first sensed God’s call. I obeyed and committed my life to God’s call and service.
Trust is sometimes an opportunity to respond. I learned that it’s best to trust God and obey His call as soon as you can. God had a plan and purpose for my life. I don’t think God broke my leg as a punishment, but as a vivid reminder to trust Him and respond when He calls.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:4-5
Have a good week trusting God.