As I watched the 2016 NBA Finals come down to the last second, I couldn’t help but think about the way this was all set up. There was a very young MVP player who openly promotes his faith in God ready to step into legend status with back-to-back NBA title wins. He had helped mount a historic season for the Golden State Warriors and it looked like God was smiling down on Stephen Curry. Especially since they were playing the “bad boy” of the NBA, Lebron James. It all seemed perfect – good wins and evil loses.
And then it all went wrong as Lebron and his team came back from 3 games to 1 to win in the dying seconds of game 7.
Christians were looking for another sports role model to look up to since Tim Tebow was jettisoned from the NFL. Now Steph Curry still might be that person but it made me ask a simple question – why? Here’s a few thoughts…
God isn’t a sports fan
Ok, this a little in jest. I don’t think the Lord cares specifically about sports. I don’t think he is against them either for this reason: he cares infinitely about the souls of the men and women involved in the sports. He doesn’t pick sides. God’s working on these men and women’s lives in ways beyond us to comprehend.
One thing I do know is that he uses the circumstances of our lives (even the ones played out in front of millions of fans) to mold us. I don’t know what he is doing in Curry’s life but I do know that he is doing something great.
Trials bring us closer to God
James writes this to us in James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
I have gone through trials. Some have come because of my own doing and some from outside influences. They have been tough to get through. What I do know is that all of them have built my character and made me more like the Lord. I don’t want to go through them but I recognize that without them I would not be molded into his image.
God’s grace is made evident
Nothing is more important than understanding God’s amazing grace. It’s the most powerful thing in all the universe. It takes sin, sorrow, failure and weakness and turns them into shining examples of his glory. It allows us to be used for his plan.
Let’s be bold in receiving the grace of God. He offers it to us without holding back.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
It opens the door to be a witness
A preacher at our assembly recently told us that when he was diagnosed with cancer and all through his treatments, he and his wife never prayer for healing. They only prayed that they would be used by the Lord to be a testimony to others. He then went on to share several stories of people he not only shared the gospel with but got saved through his trial of cancer.
In a “me” centered society it can be easy to only look to the Lord for making us feel better and more comfortable. But what if the Lord is using a trial because he has someone for us to witness to that we can only do in that situation?
His plan is much bigger than us
It may be that we won’t know until Heaven exactly why the Lord allows things to happen. It may be that we see the reason now and are privileged to see a bit of God’s plan for us. Either way we can be sure that the Lord never makes a mistake. He can be trusted in every situation we face. Not only to be with us but to use them for his glory!