Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31, 2016 - Getting Hit While Still In The Backfield

As I sat in my recliner watching some football yesterday I was amazed at the speed and aggressiveness of the Denver Broncos defense. I’ve watched them numerous times before and always was impressed but for some reason yesterday I found myself feeling almost sorry for Philip Rivers, the opposing quarterback of the San Diego Chargers, and I’m not even a Chargers (or Rivers) fan…

It seemed like every time the ball was snapped Rivers was getting hit! I watched as he grimaced each time he rose back to his feet. I watched as there was one stretch where he threw some bad interceptions and honestly looked like a defeated man, in spite of there still being a lot of time on the clock.

I’ll pick back up on the game in a minute but let me draw some parallels. We all face struggles in life and often times feel as though we are getting hit in the “backfield” before we can even get rolling. This past week was one of those for me… With my first dosage of chemotherapy and my first 5 dosages of radiation I had one of the most difficult weeks of my life. I found myself going between my bed and my chair, struggling to get to my feet without grimacing (or more accurately whining), feeling like a defeated man… and honestly much of the week it seemed to be all I could focus on.

Now back to the game… I mentioned I am not necessarily a Philip Rivers fan but I sure gained a lot of respect for him as he kept getting up and, even after being intercepted for the third time in the game, got into a nice groove completing some passes and even leading a 98-yard TD drive. This was not a case of Denver letting up on the pressure; in fact, they still seemed to have their guys in the backfield on every snap and Rivers still took a lot of hard hits! But what I noticed and respected so much was that Rivers all the sudden took on a laser-like focus on his receivers and seemed to ignore the pending doom upon himself.

What I noticed in my rough week is that my pain was not as dominating whenever I had to focus on doing something for someone else. The game and my situation reminded me of a passage I mention often in these weekly devotions, Philippians 2. I love this letter from Paul, who is in prison as he writes, as he gives us instructions on how to handle life, even when we are getting “hit in the backfield.”

Philippians 2:3-4 remind us to “…esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Paul doesn’t tell us to not take care of the problems we are in but he does tell us to “look” out of the pocket we are in to others. The word for “look” in the Greek actually has the idea of fixing our attention elsewhere… much like Rivers had to do at the quarterback position.

Not sure what you are going through but try focusing on helping others and it will make your pain more bearable. We have received thousands of prayers in my sickness and are very thankful (as I am nowhere close to “out of the backfield.” Yet I would count it an honor if you sent us your prayer requests for me to focus on when these times are difficult.

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