Field Hockey and Heaven

  • July 29, 2011
  • #7630

When it comes to handling hardship, it’s all a matter of perspective.

And that’s the truth! I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and perspective means everything when you’re hurting or facing hardship. Here, let me use an illustration from when I was on my feet. In high school I played field hockey and our team was ranked pretty high in the county. Some of the schools we went up against were awfully tough, and we could count on lots of spills and slides and falling face-down in the mud. Because I played center-forward, I seemed to always be in the thick of things; running fast, falling down… but no matter how many times I took a hard fall, if I knew we were ahead on the scoreboard, well, then, I’d jump up, brush myself off and head back into the game with drive and energy. Hey, we’re five goals ahead? Let’s go; we’re winning; we can do this; victory is within reach. But if I took a lot of hard falls in a game where we were five goals behind… then it was a different story. I already felt defeated and I’d drag myself back up on my feet and head back into the game, feeling discouraged, feeling like what’s the use… we’ve already lost… we’ll never get back into it. And it was during those games when I took hard falls that I always seemed to hurt and ache the worse. 

My attitude toward the whacks from hockey sticks, collisions with my opponents, the trip-ups and the spills and falls depended entirely on what the scoreboard looked like. If we were winning, it didn’t matter how many bumps and spills there were; we were game on! If we were losing, then who wants to keep taking these hits; what good is it? We may as well give up. See? It’s all a matter of perspective. My attitude toward pain all depended on whether we were losing or winning. 

And it’s the exact same way in life. In fact, it’s what I remind myself every morning when I get up. Dealing with quadriplegia and a wheelchair and pain and cancer… well, those are some hard hits. But, hey, I know what’s on the scoreboard. I know that we’re on the winning side. The Bible tells me how the game turns out. So when it comes to getting up in the morning and facing the day in my wheelchair, it’s “Let’s go; we’re winning; we can do this; victory is within reach.” It’s all about perspective and knowing who wins in the end – it’s Jesus; and we’re on His team. And, yes, it’s hard here on earth: lots of whacks from opponents, and bumps and bruises, spills and falls… and you could be tempted to drag yourself back up on your feet only to keep on going with a defeated attitude… or you could remember that, yes, you are filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions and, yes, you are getting your faith tested and refined and, yes, it’s all fitting together for your good and God's glory. But you might think: why does it have to be so hard?  What can I say? Except Acts 14:22 where we’re told, “… We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”

But that’s okay. We know how it all turns out. So let’s get up and get going and get excited about honoring God with our bruised and battered bodies. So if you need a little inspiration to do that today then come on over to my radio page at joniandfriends.org and pick up your copy of “God's Word on Disability.” It’s full of the same encouraging insights I’ve just shared and, I promise, you’ll be blessed. So friend, are you going through hardship today? Well “Let’s go; we’re winning; we can do this; victory is right on heaven’s horizon.”

© Joni and Friends

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