Listen to the fans!
"And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5.5
There is a lot going on right now if you’re a sports fan: Wimbledon tennis, European football championships, not to mention the postponed Olympic games which are due to start in July. A sign that normality is returning. Now, there was sport during the height of the pandemic, but in many cases it was behind closed doors, with no fans allowed to watch in person. Even with the tournaments happening now there are questions over how many fans can safely be allowed to watch. Of course, it is absolutely right that safety should come first, but what is the impact on the sports players of the fans not being there? If the fans are there, do they influence what happens on the pitch/court/track?
Now of course fans aren’t always kind to those playing the sport, and I’m sure that can have negative impacts on the players. But there are times when the support and encouragement of the crowd can help the players to push through the physical pain, find that last bit of energy, and achieve something that might not have been possible without them. Marathon runners sometimes talk of how the crowd carry them through those last gruelling miles. I’ve got wonderful memories of attending the Paralympics in 2012 and hearing the crowd cheering on the athletes and seeing them achieve personal best after personal best.
Watching a rugby match behind closed doors earlier this year made me think about what life is like when we shut out God’s love. Quietly we get on, we work hard, we try to keep going, but it is exhausting. Our energy fails, we doubt ourselves, we struggle to push through the challenges and overcome the obstacles. But in Romans 5:5 we read that “hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” We are certainly not playing behind closed doors, we have our biggest fan, God, cheering us on through His Holy Spirit; willing us to keep going, and to go further and faster and higher; urging us to find that last bit of energy when we want to give up; calling out to us that we can do it. May you hear God cheering you on today! Amen.
Photo by Vienna Reyes on Unsplash