Links Daily Devotional

Down But Not Out

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, NIV)

So Rory McIlroy is on the sidelines. Just like that.

If you’ve missed the story, the world’s number one male player spent some time in a soccer kickaround on Saturday and came away with a ruptured ligament in his ankle. Apparently “golf muscles” don’t transfer well to other sports.

In the many conversations I have had or read with professional athletes through the years, I’ve learned that perhaps the most depressing thing they can endure is a serious injury. So used to a certain routine, as well as to the mental and physical pleasures they derive from both the practice and the game, the absence of discipline and competition can lead to long days and restless nights.

It’s surely a stretch to wish for an Open Championship comeback appearance for McIlroy in just eight days, which is a fan’s loss, since the champ won’t get to defend nor even tee it up at the one venue where every subject of the golfing realm, shall we say, covets a win.

And yet, with his youth and his prowess in mind, we see every chance of McIlroy returning soon enough and regaining the form that makes him exciting as a player. Besides, with that normally enthusiastic demeanor of his, even if McIlroy must endure the usual 12-week recovery from an injury of this kind, he should carry his hope quite easily.

But now to our tough times and our hope. How are we doing in this department?

When we read the letters of Paul to the people in the New Testament churches, we do so without common experience. “Pressed… perplexed… persecuted… struck down”—it would be a long exaggeration to say this is our present-day lot. Not where most of us reside.

But the depression that comes with doubt or fear or sin against us is real. Hours of darkness can break us down, gnawing into our faith. There’s hurt to be had no matter how comfy your world. Indeed, when our seas are smoothest, we are most prone to being caught unprepared for the squalls.

At such times, while our circumstances are not as grave as Paul’s, our hope is the same. When we sense the scope of the enemy trained on us, we can turn like believers of all times, all places, and all conditions to the all-surpassing power of God in us.

Many have faith in their own strength. We stake no such claim. We don’t need to. The strength that is our enduring hope is the strength of the strongest. Let us stand in his power.

Jeff Hopper
July 8, 2015
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