The past week has been a vivid reminder of the fact that the games we love don’t always love us. Whether we like it or not, our games can be very dangerous—and sometimes we feel defenseless against that danger. Last week, Oakland A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy was hit in the head by a line drive and, though he never lost consciousness, he was hospitalized and required surgery for a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain. Then, on Saturday, Tulane safety Devon Walker was injured in a helmet-to-helmet collision that resulted in a broken neck. Both injuries were severe reality checks that remind us that, sometimes, our entertainment and pastimes can be dangerous games that show no mercy on those who play them.
Those who seek to follow Christ also face very real dangers—but, for those of us in the west, they are usually more spiritual than they are physical. Yes, fellow believers face great dangers on a regular basis in other parts of the world, but here in North America and in other parts of the world, most of our danger is from our spiritual enemy, and that enemy also shows no mercy. James described it this way:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
We do indeed have a very dangerous enemy that wants to destroy us and our effectiveness for Christ—but the reality is that we do not face that enemy alone. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). In life’s most dangerous moments, we can be encouraged—our Savior has won the victory and offers us peace, even in dangerous times.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain