On the eve of this past weekend’s launch of the Barclay’s Premier League in England, devastating riots and destruction swept through parts of the UK, primarily in London itself. Police and governmental officials cried out for calm, but what really seemed to get the attention of the public was when their beloved footballers—sometimes even jointly with players from rival clubs—appealed for an end to the burning and looting. Nevertheless, when Saturday came and the league season tipped off, it was with heavy hearts that the games began. As often happens, when the burdens and heartaches of life invade sports it can be a very discomfiting thing.
We all experience this. While others celebrate and party around us, and while appeals are made that life must go on, we carry the heaviness of our own struggles—and the high-feeling spirit that seems to surround others feels sadly out of place with our hurts. When, as Steve Green sang, “on (we) go through private pains, living fear to fear…” the pleasantries and enjoyments of life ring very empty indeed. It is for those times that we flee again to the welcoming invitation of our Lord, who calls to us:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I know that this text can feel trite and overused to some, but only to those whose cup is full. To the one who is hurting it is a salve for the broken heart and a grace that binds our wounds. Jesus Himself calls us to the peaceful rest of His presence. When we have heavy hearts, it is good to know that He offers us a light load—and His help to carry it.
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain