My heart was racing, my chest pounding, I couldn’t breathe. For a moment it felt like time had stopped. “Get up, please get up,” I prayed, as I saw my son lying lifeless on the floor of the gymnasium. “Jesus, please help him get up!” A few moments before you would have heard me shouting from the sidelines, “Slow down, you are running too fast, slow down!” It all still feels like a blur. I think there was about 30 seconds left on the clock. It was a tight basketball game with the score going back and forth between the two teams. My son is a fierce competitor, who gives his all, whose tenacity shows on the court. But we were winning, all we had to do was run down the clock. There was no need to sprint towards the hoop to make another lay-up. Then it happened, as he went up for the lay-up, the boy who was defending him pushed him from behind and my son went head first into the wall, falling lifeless to the floor. I sat in the bleachers shocked by this turn of events, “Get up, please get up,” I pleaded, “please Jesus help him get up!”
A few hours earlier, myself and another one of the mom’s from the team discussed the intensity of children’s sports as we watched our boys fight to score in the dying minutes of a previous game. She commented, “Why can’t they just play for fun, why does everything have to be so competitive?” I responded, “It is in the intensity of tight games that what’s deep in our hearts rises to the surface and shows our true character.” Jesus can use any means to show us what’s in our hearts, including sports. “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart,” (Prov. 17:3, ESV). We ended up losing that game by one point and kept a pretty good attitude about it. Little did I know that this was not the test Jesus intended for me that day. The real test would come in just a few short hours, at the end of the next game when my son crashed into the wall.
My son lay there for only moments but it felt like an eternity. When he eventually got up off the gym floor he was in tears, trying hard not to show the pain that he was feeling. Fortunately for us a doctor was among the spectators and he kindly assessed my son concluding that the pain was from a neck injury, not head trauma. It looked like my son would be OK, but he would still need to take it easy for a while resting and healing his neck. But even so, I still felt frightened. The fear I felt inside would not leave on the drive home and I couldn’t sleep that night. What was wrong with me? My son was OK, I should be thankful, but I felt scared.
The next day, during my devotions, I asked Jesus to speak to me about the accident and my corresponding feelings. I received a picture of Jesus’ hand cradling my son as he hit the wall and I felt reassurance that God knew that this accident would happen and was in complete control the entire time. I felt more settled. Yet there was more, He whispered, “Do you trust me.” I knew I should, so my mouth said, “Yes, Jesus, I trust You,” but inside my heart responded, “just please don’t test me again!”
The following morning Jesus spoke to me from the Scriptures, as I was having my devotions, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things,” (Isaiah 45:7, ESV). At that moment I felt the magnitude of who God is. My God has the power to create darkness and light and He is in control – not just when things go well, but in calamity also. I sensed God ask me, “Would you still trust me even if the outcome would have been different?” I answered with a resounding, “Yes, Jesus, I will trust you!” This time my heart agreed. I memorized that verse that morning and I thanked Jesus for being trustworthy. Then, I found myself praying a familiar prayer, “Jesus, my kids belong to You, You care about them much more than I do, they are Yours to do with whatever You please. I love You and I trust You.” The words felt more real that morning as I came to trust Him in a new way, deep from within my heart.
Reflective Prayer: Ask Jesus to show you a specific recent example from your life where He was trustworthy. Thank Him! Then, ask Him to speak to you about how you can continue growing in trusting Him with your children. Is there a practical step you can take? Recommit your kids to Jesus, telling Him that you trust Him with their lives.