From the time Isaac Diaz was a baby and had a soccer ball in his cradle, to playing as a professional athlete in packed stadiums, soccer has always been a part of his life.
And he succeeded despite being from such a small town of about 12,500 people.
“Our town, Fresia, is very small but did have a soccer academy for youth. In addition to playing locally, my father took me all over the country to gain experience in tournaments and regionals. I was fortunate to progress to the pro level, and to play in packed stadiums is a great thrill for me. “
Tragedy struck, though, and reality hit Diaz. The faith that meant so much to his parents and that they took so seriously wasn’t as important to Diaz. But after he had time to contemplate it, and after God revealed Himself to Diaz, he embraced it and committed his life to Christ.
“My family was always attending church, but honestly, I went primarily because my parents expected me to,” Diaz says. “I can still remember exactly where we sat in the pews. With my brother’s death, I finally realized how real God was to me—and all that He meant in my life. I believe 100 percent that no one can live without God!”
Even though Diaz’s faith carries him through each day, he understands that he isn’t immune to hardships. His faith doesn’t prevent bad things from happening, but it does help him get through tough times when they come.
“Sometimes life as a pro soccer player can be very difficult,” he says. “The environment of uncertainty that surrounds a club and the playing time decisions coaches make about players can often lead to self-doubt and anxiety. And then add to that the never-ending chants by crowds that are impossible to ignore. But I know that as long as my faith is in God, I can be at peace and follow the path He has laid out for me.
“I have learned that God will often do impossible things. I just need to trust in Him and His Word.
“King Solomon was incredibly wise. When he became king at a young age, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you’ (1 Kings 3:5). Of all the things Solomon could have desired, he asked for a ‘discerning heart.’ He knew that relying on God to lead him was the answer to a successful life. In Proverbs 3:5-6, Solomon wrote from personal experience, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.’ May you also come to trust in God and know Him with all your heart.”
By Brett Honeycutt
Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor of Sports Spectrum magazine.