Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Friday, April 17

“I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. —Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NLT)

Faith in Seasons of Uncertainty

Carmelo Anthony is not an average player in the NBA. The future Hall of Famer is a 10-time NBA All-Star, scoring champion, and two-time USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year. After all his accomplishments and just passing what some people may say was the peak of his career, he had to face probably one of the most challenging moments as a basketball player. Anthony was released from the Houston Rockets roster only 10 games into the 2018-19 season.

Without any warnings or clear explanation of why “his services were no longer needed,” Anthony was perplexed and distraught. At the beginning of the season, there was much hype and speculation that the veteran star would be teaming up with two franchise-caliber players, James Harden and Chris Paul. With so much expectation to be on a championship-contender team, hope was lost for Anthony.

Just like Carmelo, we too may have experienced a change from our norm that has us feeling uneasy or uncomfortable. There are moments in our life where everything seems to go right. It’s as if we are on top of the word, living our best life. However, there are also seasons where we are not feeling as fast, strong, wise, skillful or “successful” as we once were. Life can be full of disappointments and challenges, but what happens when there is a disruption in your life that is out of your control?

A crisis or an event that poses a threat to our ambition has a way of humbling us. Those humbling moments reveal and remind us of our limitations and how vulnerable we are when our vision is blurred. “It’s all decided by chance, by being at the right place at the right time” (Ecclesiastes 9:11, NLT). What we consider to be “chance” is God’s design or providence to fulfill His perfect purposes in His perfect timing (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He has a way of making beauty from ashes in time of grief (Isaiah 61:3).

When you lose hope in times of uncertainty, trust God with all your heart and do not rely on your understanding (Proverbs 3:5). It may be difficult to see past the first step, but Jesus is asking if you can follow Him in the fog. He wants to know if you can follow Him when he doesn’t do what you expect Him to do. Job was a man in the Bible that was determined to trust in God and persisted when his faith was tested by numerous tragedies. His response to all his trials was, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15 KJV).

Although Carmelo Anthony was unsure about his professional basketball career, he kept training as if he never left. After more than a year of waiting for a chance to return to the NBA, he received a contract to play for the Portland Trailblazers. Do not let seasons of uncertainty cause you to stop or be slothful (Romans 12:11). On the contrary, during the slow season, exercise your faith (James 2:17) by working as if you’re working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23), and do it well until the very end (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

You may not understand why you’re experiencing the challenges of uncertainty, but know that God is doing a great work in you. Whether you’re on top of the mountain, content in having just enough, or in your darkest moment, God is still good.

“Consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” — James 1:2-4 (NLT)

— Brandon Crooms

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