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Are You In The Game Or On The Bench?

By Shawn Brown
May 14, 2012

CBNSports.comIt’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog. But considering what I’ve gone through in the past three months, I felt the need to share a few nuggets I picked up during that time.

I’ve often heard life referred to as game. If that’s true, are you playing or are you on the bench watching it go by? The other question I have is: If you are in the game, how are you playing? Most of the time, an athlete’s play determines whether they are in the game or on the bench. That rings true on just about any level.  In the game of life it’s a bit different because the choice is in your hands. Allow me to explain.

It was Friday January 27, 2012 and I was leaving to go to Super Bowl XLVI when I was diagnosed with having Strep Throat. Well, being the “tough guy” that I am, I went to cover the event anyway. I was miserable. I could not eat or sleep. I was getting a rash that extended from my head to my feet. I somehow managed to do my job, but after returning home, my wife and my mother insisted that I go to the ER because they saw that I was dehydrated.

By the time I got to the ER not only was I dehydrated, but I also started having issues with my kidneys and my liver! The doctors couldn’t figure out what happened so I was admitted…for 10 days! Eventually they assumed it must have been an allergic reaction to the meds I was taking so I was released, but that wasn’t the case.

After returning home, I got worse. I could not eat or drink. I couldn’t taste food or even water. Everything I tried to eat or drink would end up on the floor or in the toilet. What was confusing to everyone was that I wasn’t nauseous. I wanted to eat and I had an appetite, but I would cough up anything that went down my throat.

I went from 170lbs to 138lbs! Fearing I was dehydrated again, my wife insisted I go back to the hospital. So off I went and this time I was dehydrated but it wasn’t as serious as before. Because of my previous visit, the doctors decided to admit me again. This time I was in for 16 days because they needed to make sure they found what ever it was that was causing the problem. They tested me for everything under the sun.

Finally on day number 12 they realized I had an allergic reaction to a fungus I must have breathed in while traveling that reached my lungs. That was causing all of the coughing. I was eating within two days and out of the hospital 2 days after that. Now here is the punch line: After receiving the report about my condition, I had a choice to make. How was I going to play the game now that I’ve experienced a setback? Consider this passage from James:
           
2) Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds. 3) Because you know that the testing of you faith develops perseverance. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and compete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

I’ve kept this passage buried in my heart for years. Why? Because trials are certain. James tells us that we must consider it joy when we face trials because they are surely going to come and we have a choice as to how we’re going to deal with them.

I see trials as weight that you lift in the gym to gain muscle. Think of Jesus as the trainer who gives just what you need to get to the next level. You struggle with that weight until it gets east then after that its time for more weight and the process begins all over again. The more times you repeat the process, your body becomes conditioned to handle additional weight and each stage becomes easier to deal with.

Our spirit is the same way. I see trials as weight. The more trials I “lift” the more fit my spirit becomes. When I was faced with this “trial”, I knew how I was going to handle it. I chose not to be moved and so did my family. I knew God was going to heal me, it was just a matter of when. Visitors would come in to my room daily and they never saw me down, a bit hungry perhaps, but not sad.

I was told I looked frail and weak and I was in the flesh. But my spirit was as strong as ever. I know I have a purpose in life just as you do. I knew my work here on earth was not over so I was worried about the reports the doctor gave. I’ve been out of the hospital for a bout a month and have been back to work for three weeks and feel GREAT! 

So I ask you, are you in the game or on the bench? If you’re in the game, which I certainly hope you are, how are you playing? As challenges come, are you taking the bull by the horns or are you sitting by and allowing it to run you over? The choice is yours and with God all things are possible.

 

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:14

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