When football players decide to pursue a career in the NFL, there are certain aspects of their decision that are understood:

  • They have the potential to make good money.
  • They play in front of millions of roaring fans.
  • They see people wearing their jersey.
  • They have the chance to win a Super Bowl.
  • They experience wins and losses.
  • They have the opportunity to develop team comradery in the locker room.
But, perhaps the most important realization of all football players is that injuries are a huge part of the game. They are most likely going to suffer minor injuries on a routine basis or face a major injury at some point in their career.

When an injury takes place, NFL players will deal with pain, disappointment, and missed opportunities…it just comes with the territory.

During the first NFL weekend, we saw Cardinals running back, David Johnson, go down with a significant wrist injury – one of the best players in the league.

We’ve also seen countless other players already hurt – Andrew Luck, Thomas Rawls, Odell Beckham Jr., Danny Woodhead, Spencer Ware, and Julian Edelman, to name a few.

Of course, players do what they can to avoid being injured and remain healthy, but they know every time they step onto the field, there’s the possibility of suffering with something that day.

They can’t play with fear, but unfortunately, they can’t play with the expectation they will never face an injury.

As followers of Jesus, we can relate because we know life is not free from pain, suffering, disappointment, and missed opportunities. God absolutely blesses His children and allows us to enjoy life, but He never said we won’t experience setbacks and tough situations.

The reality is that at some point in our lives (most likely regularly), we are going to suffer from both minor and major “injuries.” We must learn to properly handle our response, while accepting the reality that “injuries” come with the territory.

We don’t make the decision to follow Jesus so that we have good health and lots of wealth, but rather because we need a Savior and desire to grow and become more like Him.

We are actually being refined and strengthened through our struggles and trials, even though we wish we could ultimately avoid them.

When heartache and suffering come, we can cling to John 16:33 (ESV),I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

We shouldn’t be surprised when an NFL player gets injured…and we shouldn’t be caught off guard when life doesn’t go exactly how we planned it would. “Injuries” play out differently for each of us, and affect multiple areas of our lives, but we must understand it’s all part our faith journey.

2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV) says, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”

Even though life on this earth isn’t all about the “big plays and game-winning touchdowns,” we know this is temporary, and pales in comparison to the perfect eternity we’ll experience one day.

We must remember there is purpose and good that can come from the big hits that lead to pain. In the following verses, Paul gives us this amazing viewpoint to alter our perspective and mindset:

Romans 8:18 (ESV) says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

And Romans 5:3-5 (ESV) tells us: More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I don’t like to experience pain and suffering, but I trust You will strengthen me and grow me through it. I know this life isn’t meant to be perfect and that disappointments will happen, so please help me put my hope in You through it all. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.