Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Monday, August 31

I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” — Philippians 1:23-24

Hope for Hard Times

Coaches, athletes and fans are under a lot of stress as we deal with the uncertainty associated with the epidemic. The current crisis is hitting everybody in one way or another. The disruption and sudden changes shock and disappoint us. When any person, including rich and famous people, loses everything without warning, it’s easy to give in to despair.

In October of 1929, when the stock market crashed, a few people looked at their losses and jumped off tall buildings and suddenly ended their lives. As we think about hard times and how people respond, it is not our place to criticize, but we should try to help as many people as possible, because life may get better in a few days or a few years.

Every human being needs hope when we lose our health, our wealth, our child, our marriage, our job or something else dear to us. Plus, depression is real for a lot of people for unexplained reasons.

But God is near and wants to help us overcome our difficulties, like Daniel did in the lions’ den and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did in the fiery furnace. Also, Jeremiah was a good prophet who did a good job but was treated like a criminal. He got a raw deal, but God helped him to keep on living through the pain.

When Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, his life got harder, not easier. Saul became the Apostle Paul and worked as a minister and a missionary. He was beaten several times by people who tried to stop him from preaching. During his suffering, he yearned for Heaven but he refused to leave early. “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Philippians 1:23-24).

In other words, Paul put aside his personal pain and focused on sharing hope with as many people as possible. God wants us to be hopeful and share hope with everyone as we go through hard times. Though it hurts, we can hold our head up “while we wait for the blessed hope — the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Ga.

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