Sunday, 3 April 2016
Through the Hard Times
This evening as we watched the West Indies beat England in the final T20 cricket match in India, we cheered loudly and clapped hands at their nail biting victory. It was spectacular cricket, coming down to the last over to determine the victor. But what we celebrate as great cricket or good sportsmanship is nothing compared to what the actual players experience behind the scenes. They go through every emotion, encounter dramatic defeats and even rejection and pain, these are the things we do not see. These are the realities we will never know about, that is why it is so unfair to criticise or to point fingers when we do not know the full story.
In the West Indies captains speech at the post - match presentation, some real hard truth came out. Truth that made me wipe away tears. The whole West Indies team was rejected by their board, most of the players weren't chosen for one day or even series matches, they were ridiculed, mocked and insulted. The tears that were held back by their captain was real, they are a team rejected. They even arrived in India without uniforms to wear for their matches. The first thing he said though was I give all the praise to the Almighty, we are a praying team and we even have a pastor in our team that keeps us praying and keeps reminding us of good things.
I just wanted to hug him, not in a strange I feel sorry for you way, but in a way that says I get it. Encountering rejection, pain and ridicule is something we all experience in different ways. I really get it though. When I was young I worked on advocating equality and a new way to see the way we do things especially in theology. I too was rejected at times but what made it worth it was the incredible ways I met God in the midst of these things. In the times when it was hard, I met people who understood, I received hugs from friends that changed things and my Heavenly Father always promised me good and turned things around for me. Lessons learned in the hard times have made me enjoy the beauty in all of life's seasons. I'm not sure what you are going through in your own life but maybe you need that encouragement, maybe you too are facing those hard times, those down times but there will be beauty dear friend. There will be victory and there will be good things to follow, because Father promises this for all of us. I pray for His Love and peace for you tonight. May you know that you are loved no matter what!
And one final thought, the West Indies women's team won their game tonight too, how amazing right! And so when the men were celebrating, the women's team came on to the field and together they celebrated wildly. Even the commentators commented on how great it was, because women's cricket has not received the light and coverage it has needed. You see what their suffering has gained for them? A sense of unity, a sense of closeness and inclusion, a sense of togetherness. Never before has a mens and womens team celebrated together like that on the pitch. There was such unity in it and I believe that is because of their pride as a nation and their walk as individuals. Pain can purchase purpose when we allow it to change us for the better and inevitably, it can help heal pain in others and be used for great joy. May our pains, challenges and mountains help us become better people in the end, amen!
Joining with a special new sister this week - Lisha Epperson