will renew their strength.”
Knowing that I often ask God to direct me through my children, I felt He was quieting my heart with His perfect parental love. Taking Joshua’s cues and trusting he would tell me if the pain was intolerable, I respected his request to stay in school. I was glad he wanted to stay for class, and I am sure the weekend’s basketball games were on his mind as well.
When Jim arrived home from work Friday evening, he carefully looked at Joshua’s thumb. Jim was the Team Medic for Joshua’s football team a few years ago, and he is also the coach of both of our cherubs’ basketball teams. He was considering the situation from several perspetives – medic and coach, but most of all as Joshua’s father.
After talking with Joshua, Jim said to him, “Joshua, I think it is OK for you to play through the pain this weekend. You can play in the championship game and the All-Star game. I’ve asked God for His wisdom and protection. I think you can play through the pain.”
As soon as Jim uttered those words to Joshua, I could see Joshua’s confidence and courage immediately confirmed and validated. “Mom, Dad told me to play through the pain. I can play, Mom! I am going to play through the pain!”
Words from a loving father. “Play through the pain.” How poignant. Often, our Heavenly Father leads us to “play through the pain”. Pain from unfair judgment and criticism, pain due to a broken relationship, pain from lack of mercy and unforgiveness, pain from consequences of our own sin, pain from loss, pain from tragic circumstances, pain from conviction. Whether our pain is physical, emotional or spiritual, God may instruct us to continue to “play”.
Sometimes when I am in such pain, I want to run and hide. Honestly, when the pain seems intolerable, sometimes I’d rather quit the team. But our Heavenly Father strengthens us and His sufficient grace washes over us so we can play through the pain. He is our confidence and hope. “For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.” (Psalm 71:5)
Like Hagar in Chapter 16 of Genesis, He finds us in our desert, in our misery, and He speaks to us. He washes us with His Word and whispers His promises into our hearts. Our Heavenly Father refreshes us. He is the God who sees and provides. Genesis 16. He gives us everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)
Life’s pain won’t sideline us when our Heavenly Father whispers His words to us: “Play through the pain, My child.” He gives us the courage and tenacity we need. Whether He calls us to cheer from the sideliness or get in the game, He is our sufficiency.
We did not ignore Joshua’s injury and pain, we just waited while he played through the pain during two significant challenges. On Sunday afternoon after the All-Star game (which Joshua’s team won…Glory to God!!), we took him straight to the emergency room for an x-ray. Joshua’s thumb had a buckle fracture, which required only a splint to protect his thumb. God does not ignore our injury and pain either. Sometimes we just have to endure and play through the pain a while. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4
The pediatric orthopedic doctor gave Joshua permission to continue playing sports while his broken bone is healing. In the doctor’s words, “The splint will provide perfect protection while allowing him to be fully active.” That reminds me of our Great Physician’s perfect care.
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Glory to God!