Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: When it doesn't make sense - Chris Maragos

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

What does it look like to have confidence in things hoped for and assurance of things unseen?

The Christian walk is not about following something blindly. It’s about trusting in God’s Word and gaining assurance from His promises, which He makes very clear to us. This is what gives us strong faith. We can have confidence in things not seen because of the resurrection of Christ and the hope God has given us through His Word and His Spirit.

This is true. This is accurate. This is sure.

We can put our faith in things we don’t see because of the love of God that we’ve experienced and continually find grace in every day.

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” — Hebrews 11:7

Because of his faith, Noah was chosen by God. Noah hadn’t experienced any rain — no precipitation at all — and yet when God told him the heavens would be pouring down water, he believed. Noah had never seen a boat before, let alone built one, and yet when God gave him instructions, he set to work without question. God chose Noah to honor Him through his faithful obedience and because Noah trusted God’s word, even when it didn’t make any sense, and as a result, all of humanity was saved.

There have been many times in my life when I knew God was calling me to trust Him when it didn’t seem to make any sense.

I had just finished my first year of college at Western Michigan and had a full scholarship offer to transfer to Grand Valley State — a Division II school. Grand Valley State had won a lot of championships and it was 30 minutes from my serious girlfriend (who is now my wife), not to mention I would be a starting wide receiver there and fully scholarshipped to boot! This would have been a really smooth, easy transition — one that made sense to everyone around me. But God had a different plan.

As the time drew nearer for me to make the move, God kept closing doors to this school but opening doors to another. The opportunity to be a walk-on with no financial scholarship — a redshirt sophomore — at the University of Wisconsin also presented itself. Everyone was telling me, “If you can’t even make it on Western Michigan, how are you going to make it at Wisconsin?” I knew I would have to sit out for the year and wait for eligibility to play, but yet God kept opening doors for me to go in this direction.

In my mind, it made sense to go to Grand Valley State. I would be starting, able to play the game I loved, competing in every game and possibly winning championships! But the Lord wasn’t calling me there, He was calling me to Wisconsin. That was becoming more and more clear to me as I sought direction and wisdom from Him.

While making the decision, I knew that Wisconsin’s head coach had also been a walk-on during his college career. He knew what I would be going through and had gone down the same path himself. As he pulled me into his office to let me know that he believed in me and wanted me on his team, I began to gain confidence. But it was almost June and I hadn’t been accepted! As the month went on, a late acceptance to join the Wisconsin Badgers came. But the biggest confirmation I received was knowing that Luke Swan — a former walk-on from a small town in Wisconsin who went on to become the team captain — would be leading the team. Having then become one of the best players on the team, he knew the route I was about to take and more importantly, he had faith that I could excel as well. This guy loved the Lord with all his heart and I knew if I chose to go to Wisconsin, I would not only be able to learn from and be mentored by Luke, I would be able to room with him too.

As I made the tough decision to turn down the full-ride to Grand Valley State and step into an uncertain position at a Division I school, where I would sit out for the first year, there were many times when I doubted. Why would I give up the chance to start every game? Why wouldn’t I choose a school near the girl I loved and the friends I had made? Why not take the assurance of a full scholarship? From a worldly perspective, Grand Valley State was the perfect choice and yet it wasn’t sitting right in my soul. I knew God was calling me to more. As I prayed for discernment and peace in my spirit, I realized I needed to trust God even when it didn’t make sense. After much prayer, seeking truth in God’s Word and gaining godly counsel from Christians, I made the move to Wisconsin. It took a lot of faith, but I soon discovered it was well worth it.

Needless to say, I’m so grateful I made that decision. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t. Later that year I was given a scholarship to play, I soon become a team captain, and ultimately, was noticed by a scout, which led me to sign an NFL contract. Now that I’ve played eight years in the NFL with a Super Bowl win, I am further convinced that the Lord had everything planned out perfectly from the beginning. It hasn’t always been easy, clear or comfortable, but by having faith in God’s leading, I’ve experienced His power and divine will at work in my life.

Chris Maragos

Chris Maragos is a safety and special teams ace with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.

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