It’s been such a blessing to be back here in Philly this year. My wife and I were able to transition back to the city pretty quickly and easily. In fact, after the first week we began hosting the couples’ Bible study in our living room every Monday. We love that because it shows just how much we are already ingrained in this community. It’s not, “Jordan’s here,” it’s, “Jordan’s back!” So now, we’re able to continue to work and grow together as a community and it’s been amazing.
The night before each game, some of the veteran Philly players, as well as some of the new guys, gather to read through the book of Romans together. This time is so special for us. Not only that, just hanging out with the guys in practice or outside of practice is great. It’s a good deal when you don’t dread going to work because of the people who surround you. Just because we play a game for a career, many people think we have it easy. But the days are hard. Having guys around you that you really enjoy being around makes a huge difference.
The way God orchestrated this season so far really shows me that God has had His hand in this the whole time. I love going after goals I know I can’t accomplish on my own — ones where I know they can only take place if God is a part of them. Signing with the Patriots at the beginning of the season was a miracle in itself. Having had so many injuries and then being signed to play in one of the hardest places, I knew in order to wake up every day and get the job done, I would need to fully rely on the Lord. I thought, “If I’m going to have a chance here, it’s going to be completely the Lord’s doing.” And I was doing great — until I got hurt again. Then when I was released by the team, I didn’t give up. I kept training, knowing that if I was signed by any team after all these injuries, it would have to be the Lord’s doing once again. Then I was signed.
Not only was I signed, I was signed by a team that is close to my heart, in a city with which we are familiar. The second game into the season for me, I was able to play in my college state of Tennessee and scored my first touchdown of the season. I was in awe the entire time just thinking, “Wow God, You really mapped out this whole thing from the start! I just had to trust in You and keep going.”
Even now, I am still actively moving under the will of God, knowing it’s only by His power I’m where I am today. It’s so cool to see what He’s doing in my life, and I’m excited to see where He takes me next as I stay obedient to Him and diligent in my role.
I have to admit, it was a little nerve-racking to not have a job when we were about to become parents. Now, I know that since I’ve been blessed by a variety of strong relationships with different people, I will be able to get a great job after football. I know I could jump into a number of opportunities with things I would love to do. But I also know I wouldn’t be able to do any of them without the Lord. God paved the way throughout my college career, in football and in extra relationships. I know that if He could do that, He can do it again in the NFL. He’s already made a way; surely then I can trust Him now.
As I mentioned previously on The Increase, God placed the verses James 4:13-15 on my heart and mind this season:
“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.’”
As I leaned into this verse, I realized that the biggest struggle we deal with in the NFL is often expectations versus reality. Every time you sign with a team, everyone comes to you with expectations. But sometimes soon after, you get hurt. After so many of those instances in my career, I realize that the one thing God is showing me is that He’s in complete control. So how about I just find the joy in what I’m doing and then let Him handle the rest? Once I started doing that, football became fun again, my marriage was happier, and I was a better man as a whole.
So even when I wasn’t signed with a team, I was able to trust that since God made a way before, I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. Instead, I can look to Him and trust He has a plan, seeing this as an opportunity to grow closer to Him.
— Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles 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.