Prayers for Damar Hamlin and Jeremy Renner.
I was late turning the game on and was surprised by the hushed tones and serious faces of the commentators. Everything about the broadcast communicated that something had gone wrong—very seriously wrong. What seemed like a typical NFL hit had stopped an athlete’s heart on live television. At some point after that, I saw that Jeremy Renner had been run over and badly injured by his 7-ton snowplow as he was trying to help a neighbor. The coverage of these events is noteworthy. Tragedies happen all the time, but these events were somehow different. Two high-profile people suffered life-changing injuries while doing something that—for them--was ordinary and in public. The public fascination with these events is rooted in the vulnerability these events expose in all of us. Anyone can be doing something as routine as working their job or helping a neighbor and then, by no malicious actions, have their lives changed forever. There is something terrifying about that reality, and most of us try our best not to think about it too much.
What are we to make of our feelings of uncertainty and mortality? Life is painful, but our pain has an expiration date. For the Christian, the only thing that lasts is eternity with Jesus Christ. Pain is real but temporary. God is good, and his favor lasts forever.
New International Version
4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
This scripture brings to mind a poem by Theresa of Avila, a 16th-century Christian.
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience gains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
Whenever the anxiety of this world causes you to fear or despair, remember that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us” and take heart.