It was unfortunate that I injured my hamstring during training camp this season, but it’s all part of the game. When you are one of the new guys on a team and you get hurt during camp, you have to expect that they will do what they need to in order to progress the team. But there’s a blessing in every situation.
One of those blessings that came from the Patriots releasing me is that I was able to spend more time with my wife, Cheyna, in her final days of pregnancy, as we prepared to welcome our baby boy, Josiah, into the world. I know I’ve had a lot of people praying for me, and God-willing, I hope to return as soon as possible.
When I initially found myself injured, I knew it wasn’t too serious, but since it was muscular, I also knew it wasn’t as cut and dry as a bone injury. When I had fractured my finger, it was annoying (especially as a receiver), but I knew that though it would hurt, I had a pretty set timeline of my return. When I injured my hamstring this time around, I knew it wasn’t a good sign. A receiver has to be able to run 90 percent of the time, so when I was released shortly after diagnosis, it didn’t come as a big surprise. This is part of the business of football; you find yourself in a tough and vulnerable position when injured.
Having gone through these challenges, my perspective has grown dramatically. At this point in my career, I know that with any situation you go into with a team, you really have to take it one day at a time. Football is so unpredictable.
When I signed with the Patriots, most of the people closest to me — my family and friends — did not come to me with huge expectations or predictions of glory. Instead, they shared how excited they were for me and let me know they were praying for God’s will for me to be amazing this year. This is such a refreshing perspective to gain from those who are nearest to you, and this is what lasts no matter what results come. I’d rather gain support and prayer than cheers and optimism for fame on the field. Ultimately, I know that whatever the Lord has for me, as long as I trust in Him, that’s what will be the best.
So then when I was injured and released, this support system did not die away or leave me depressed. Instead, they stood solid, praying for me and supporting me. They are happy to be there for me regardless of my career results. Being able to play this game is a huge blessing to me; I’m thankful for where I am and for the people who pour truth into my life daily.
One passage of Scripture that I’ve been dwelling on during this season is found in James:
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” — James 4:13-15
Today has enough problems as it is. Instead of saying we can speak our realities into existence, we need to know that it’s the Lord’s will that will happen. The Bible says that verbatim!
After thinking I had everything figured out during my time in Philadelphia, then going on the journey of being injured, traded, being on the IR and then injured again, needless to say, things did not turn out the way I thought. But through that time, this passage in James gave me a great peace, as it still does today.
Today is a great day. Even though I’m currently unemployed, rehabbing an injury and not where I pictured myself at this time, it’s a great day! Each day is a gift and I don’t want to get so caught up in the football life that I miss out on what God is doing in and around me.
— Jordan Matthews, NFL free agent wide receiver
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.