UNPACK this

When Sports Stop for the ESPYS Celebration

Published on July 14, 2017 | By

Last night the ESPYS took place with the sports and entertainment world gathering under one roof to celebrate the amazing accomplishments from the past year.  Peyton Manning turned out to be a hilarious host, and the night was filled with heartwarming stories and reminders of the most memorable moments sports had to offer in the past 12 months. 

I look forward to watching this great awards show every July - always the night after MLB’s All-Star game and right before their season resumes. All four major sports stop playing this one day of the year, and the ESPYS take over. 

When no action is taking place on the field, and while the sports world becomes silent, the ESPYS fill in the gap for us sports fans by providing an opportunity to honor amazing performances and praise players who excelled in their respective sport. Before the games begin again, we all look back in joyful remembrance and awe of what has already taken place. 

In our own lives, we usually experience much more than a day of silence or lack of action when it comes to waiting for God to move and answer our prayers. We end up thinking that God is silent and has stopped working on our behalf. We ask ourselves when He's going to come through for us...and when He's going to deliver us from our challenging circumstances. Although we keep praying and waiting, we can't help but wonder why nothing is happening and if God is ever going to act on our behalf. 

The truth is, God is always faithful and continuously working for our good and for His purposes. Sometimes there are reasons for the perceived silence, such as unconfessed sin, or a need for reconciliation with someone, or we’re just not listening. Then other times, we just have to wait for His timing and His plan to be revealed. 

So what do we do in between, and before the “action” picks up and becomes apparent to us? We celebrate...worship...and praise God for everything He’s already done. We focus on the many amazing things He’s blessed us with, and everything we've already experienced because of His grace and love. When it feels like nothing is currently happening, we remember and look back with awe at God’s continuous goodness. 

Every year the ESPYS prompt us to pause and reflect on incredible sports performances from the past, and to anticipate new records to be broken and the next top athletes to be revealed. 

Likewise, whenever we face days that feel like everything has stopped, and we’re waiting for what’s next, let’s remember the powerful moments of the past. Let's be filled with hope for what lies ahead because we know what God can do. As we worship Him with these words today, we can find peace and confidence that God will come through for us again:

"Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him.  "For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in His hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to Him, for He made it.  "His hands formed the dry land, too. Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker" (Psalm 95:1-6; NLT). I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that! 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I trust that You are working - even when it seems like You’re being silent. I pray I would continue to seek You, and that You will help me hear You. I praise Your Holy name, and know that You are good and faithful. Thank you for everything You’ve done and for everything You are. Thank you for Jesus. In His name I pray, Amen.

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