The Fallen Athlete
By Diane Markins
Who would imagine that a football game could be a profound reminder of a need for prayer? On September 29th the New York Jets destroyed my Arizona Cardinals. But that’s not newsworthy. In fact, based on quite a bit of history, a Cardinals loss wasn’t terribly unexpected earlier this season.
The attention-getting play of the game happened with only 27 seconds remaining when Anquan Boldin tried to catch a pass from Kurt Warner in the end zone. He was hit hard from behind then an instant later took a head-on, helmet-to-helmet hit from Jets’ safety Eric Smith. They both went down and while Smith was stunned, Boldin was unconscious.
The wonderful and amazing thing about watching this happen was the transformation of a crowd. They morphed from ardent fans of one team to concerned human beings for a fallen athlete. Everyone was on their feet and watching quietly to see if this man would get up—on the field, or ever again.
Even more astounding was the instant transformation of the players on both teams. Men who had been vigorously competing against each other only moments before were talking in hushed tones and embracing.
Then—as millions watched on TV, an enormous huddle formed and dozens of large, tough football players went down on their knees, an uneven integration of team colors. Warner, the Cardinals’ quarterback, was near the center leading this group of humble stars in a prayer for their injured brother. Team leadership was never more clearly demonstrated than in that instant.
1st Timothy 2:8 says, “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” Warner clearly followed this principle and others followed as they put their competitive natures second to being unified in prayer.
Boldin has no long-term injuries. All’s well that end’s well, right?
Sure, but the outcome could have just as easily been much worse. Just another reminder of how tenuous life is…for all of us, not just football players and fighter pilots.
I hope Boldin is deeply aware of this and lives the rest of his life with outward evidence of an attitude of gratitude. None of us fully knows how near we’ve been to life-altering circumstances and how many times we’ve been spared. Do you think about it? Are you grateful each day and express that to the One who protects, directs and adores you?
I also hope that Boldin (and his teammates) appreciate the strong, servant-leader they have at their helm. If I ever find myself knocked flat on my back, I know there are members of my team of loved ones who will ask everyone to huddle up, take a knee and do the only thing they can: pray. In front of God and everyone else watching.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 Are there people in your life praying for you each day? If not, seek them out. Don’t miss this “powerful and effective” blessing God has promised.
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Diane Markins writes and speaks in a "high def, life-transforming style" about issues that impact daily living.She is the host of Women in High Def radio show, but is also a speaker and writer. She enjoys travel and has been from Mexico to Zimbabwe but always loves coming home to roost in Arizona near her family. See more of her writing at DianeMarkins.com.
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