Welcome to Team Talk. This month I have opted to share a personal testimony about family, which I will relate to sport in my own way.
I have been a youth pastor for over 14 years and very involved in sports ministry. I have the wonderful privilege of mentoring young people and have seen God perform miracles of healing, deliverance, restoration and reconciliation in peoples’ lives and in that of their families. God has done the same in my life. Any job or even calling can consume you and you can so easily lose touch with family. When your past holds some very painful memories that you have possibly forgiven but not fully released and you couple these two together, barriers can so easily form between you and your loved ones back home. With those barriers comes distance and the distance I’m talking about is not really kilometres but rather emotional. I believed a lie that my family does not really love me and that they are the ones that are forming the barriers and the distance. So for years I held back. I prayed about it often but just did not seem to find peace with it. Until recently.
I spent some time with my family and extended family in my home town and I must admit that I was feeling anxious about it and my mind seemed plagued by the past. I shared this with my amazing wife who told me that I should not always over think things as I always do and that I should just go with the flow. Very wise words that impacted me deeply. I opted to go and be a shining light for the Gospel and shifted my attitude from negative and critical to that of love and grace. The same love and grace that Jesus offered me. I prayed and asked God to show me my family through the lens of His eyes. What an amazing time we had. Some of my family members are going through some really difficult times and it saddened my heart. I became moved with compassion for them. I got to pray with them and reassured them of God’s love and that He is in the midst of every situation with us. That He will never leave us nor forsake us.
I was also saddened because I realised just how detached I had become and that it was me that had put up the barriers. That they are always keen to have me around. It’s just that after I always kept rejecting their offers, they stopped asking and trying. I was also saddened because the ones going through difficult times had been doing so for a number of years. I could have offered them my support, especially in prayer. Family is just so important and is at the centre of God’s heart. I realised that I was very good at supporting other families but poor at supporting mine. God removed my critical lens and suddenly a peace came over me. The peace that I had desired for such a long time. I feel a renewed love for my family and such a desire to be with them. We all live in different cities and I foresee some epic road trips in the near future. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:11 – I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gifts to make you strong.
We should long to see our families regardless of what they have done. We should forgive easily just as God has forgiven us. Forgive and you will receive His peace. It may take some time and it is definitely a process but forgive and let go. Most importantly ask God for His lens for it mirrors 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – Love is patient, love is kind… you can fill in the rest beloved.
God will reveal to you how this relates to sport but this is how it relates for me… There is no point if I am out reaching the multitudes for the Gospel and being a shining light for Christ and many lives are changing but my own family does not know who I am or have my support. There is no point if I am winning games, medals, trophies, world cups and I am everyone’s favourite and have many supporters but my own family does not know me and have my support. Let’s search our hearts, motives and surrender all to Jesus. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
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