Juan Valeron’s faith journey is a great example of how new believers often face trials early in their walk with Christ. As one of Spain’s most decorated professional soccer players for the past 15 years, Valeron has led his national team to big victories including two European Championships, the Spanish Cup, and the coveted FIFA World Cup (2002).
But his victories on the field have been hampered by family pain off the field, starting with the death of his brother at age 30, followed by the passing of his father.
“We were quite a united family, and losing him was devastating,” he shares. “It was particularly difficult to see my parents struggle. But God graciously cared for us, and I am certain that without His help, my parents couldn’t have coped with their loss. Unfortunately, the pain deepened when soon after, my father also passed away.”
In his pain, Valeron struggled with questions like, Why is this happening? And when he couldn’t find the answers on his own, he looked to God.
“He was the answer,” assures Valeron. “He showed me that good could come from painful experiences. During that time, one of my brothers came to know God, and from that point, my family’s faith has grown steadily.”
When the Arguineguin, Spain, native was a young boy, his goal on the soccer field was to play in the top division and reach elite status in Spain. But even after accomplishing great success, including the World Cup, he realized that without God, the victories didn’t give him contentment.
“I realized those successes weren’t really important,” he shares. “In fact, without God, they were worth nothing. But Jesus is everything. Just like the food we need to live, Jesus is the necessity in life. Once I had a personal relationship with Him, I wanted to be with Him. While I may still experience difficult times, I know God is with me, and therefore accept them with joy. And I know that someday, I will go to His presence and experience His glory.”
By Jenna Sampson