March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year! As soon as Christmas is over, I look forward to those crazy weeks of staying up late and cheering on teams who I didn’t even pick, just because they are the under-dogs. It’s a fun time of year watching players excel and give it all they have. They leave it all on the court and sometimes end up getting injured in the process. One night, a player fell, obviously injured, and I watched as the trainer rushed out. No one called him over, he just knew he was needed. I laughed as I asked my husband if I could get a trainer, one who would be right with me and come assist me when my body failed. Then I heard that still, small voice whisper to my heart, “You already have one”.
When I was younger and played sports, I was so thankful I didn’t have “those” parents who would jump up and storm the field or the court when I fell down. They sat, watched and waited for me to get back up. If it looked like I was really injured and needed help, the coach would wave them over and they were there to get me the help I needed to heal. They waited for me to get back up, thus encouraging me to, and I was so thankful that they gave me that chance. Years pass and with failing health, I am coming to learn that it’s okay to allow someone to rush by your side immediately. He’s there anyway – I just needed the reminder to look.
I admit it – I have a hard time asking for help. If you know me at all, you have just nodded your head and probably mumbled something about me being stubborn. Guilty! Why is it so hard to admit our needs, our failures, our brokenness? It all comes down to pride for me. I’m too proud to use my cane in public if I need it that day. I don’t want to appear weak and needy, so I would just rather shuffle my feet or even not go if it comes down to it. However, 1 John 2:16 warns us about pride, “For everything in this world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world.” My pride comes from the world view that I am fixed on – it doesn’t come from my Father. I am too proud to ask for help, even though God may be trying to use someone else to be changed, by allowing them to assist me. When we help others, we are blessed in return. Our hearts are changed through the process of obeying, even if it’s ever so slightly, so when I don’t accept help, I am not allowing that change to happen. So, when we fall we ask for help, right? Yes – but we have to make sure and ask through the One that has allowed this fall to happen in the first place. We can’t solely rely on others to help us – we have a Trainer who will storm the court on our behalf. The best part is, whether we have noticed or not, He has been doing it all along.
I have never seen an injured player wave off the help from a trainer, have you? The player starts telling him about his pain and where it is and what it feels like. He is relieved when the trainer arrives and usually lays back and rests in the fact that the trainer knows what he is doing and he will help. Chances are, that is what he has proven to do in the past. It may hurt and it may be uncomfortable, yet the athlete knows it is what is necessary to heal. So why do we, when our God rushes to help us, do we complain about the pain we have to go through to heal? Our God works on a bigger picture level that we cannot understand. He sees the end result and knows that the pain it may cause to get us there will be totally worth it when we are holding His trophy in heaven. Remind yourself the pain is only temporary and it may be what is needed to get you back in the game of life. I have a feeling the end result with be nothing short of the joy of a buzzer beater.
I would imagine sports team trainers have a pretty thankless job. They are behind the scenes making sure their best player’s pulled hamstring is stretched properly, so he can get back in their biggest game of the year. They rush out on the court, yet are invisible to all the fans, who are solely focused on the cringing face of their favorite fallen athlete. The trainer will rush, assist, and seemingly disappear until they are needed again. Have you ever felt that way about your walk with God? Yes, He is there when you need Him and He gets you through the immediate need, but does it stop there? Do you seek Him out and look for Him when you aren’t in distress? A sports trainer may only seem to appear in dire circumstances, yet he is right there sitting next to the players the whole time. God is much the same way – He is there, right next to us, yet we are too busy excitedly watching the world unfold. Have you taken time to look next to you and see Him watching you watch the world? He is craving for you to turn and set your eyes to Him, and only on Him.
Our God is indeed our Trainer, if only we can turn and fix our gaze on Him, instead of our life’s circumstance. We need to accept His help, whether we have yet to ask for it. We must allow Him to work out our sore spots, no matter the pain this may cause. We must not forget to thank Him for the work He has performed in our lives and we must never make Him invisible in this back-and-forth game of life. Yes, we will stumble and yes, we will fall, but with God’s help, we will rise and even be stronger for it. For through true struggle, we learn that our Trainer is so trustworthy and ever present. We just have to adjust our eyes to look for Him – He’s there in the midst of the battle and is ready to storm the court on your behalf. He’s just waiting to see if you’re ready for Him. You can do this, dear one. I’m cheering for you – you may feel like the underdog in this world, but I have a secret: I have you down to win it all.
“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2