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Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Friday, August 14

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” — Psalm 23:4

How Big is Your God?

One of the most incredible programs in the world of sports is the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, which allows athletes in various sports to compete professionally while simultaneously serving their country in uniform. Many athletes in this program have gone on to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

One such competitor was a young bobsledder named John Napier. He was a rising star on the international circuit for several years, and had also been serving in the Army National Guard. This financially supported his training and allowed him the privilege of serving in the military, one he gladly embraced. And prior to making the 2010 Winter Olympics team for the United States, Napier experienced a dramatic conversion to Christ and was discipled by a pastor in the Lake Placid, N.Y., area.

Napier was torn up over if he should compete in the Olympics due to the fact that his unit had deployed to Afghanistan around the time of the Games, and he was desperate to go. The Army didn’t want to lose one of their elite World Class Athlete representatives, so they didn’t allow him to deploy.

He went to the Olympics and loved his experience there, but as soon as the Games were over, he began asking the Army to let him join his fellow soldiers. After months of back-and-forth, the Army relented and let him go to Afghanistan. Initially, he was given an office position hoping that would be a compromise for both parties involved — keep him safe but let him serve. But Napier asked to be sent to the front lines where his men were. The Army had no choice then but to send him to his unit’s location.

Napier would later say that he had no fear of heading to the front lines because he believed God was powerful enough to take care of him and his soldiers. This radical faith turned out to be a huge testimony to the soldiers serving with him during the remainder of the deployment.

Napier would eventually return to bobsledding that next winter season, his first race taking place days after getting back on U.S. soil. He would go on to share many stories in interviews of close calls he’d experienced, and times when all he had to get him through was a big God. He said Psalm 23 became a great comfort to him as he faced danger on a minute-by-minute basis. Even in a literal “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23, KJV), he clung to the promise that God was with him always.

In light of this, I want to simply leave you with a question today: What would your life look like if you trusted God so completely that you could walk into any situation with peace? Even ones that seem far beyond human reason, simply because you believe God is capable enough to guide and take care of you? Simply put, how big is your God?

— Katherine Singer

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